Indexed on: 03 Aug '17Published on: 03 Aug '17Published in: BMC Pediatrics
Sclerosing mesenteritis is a rare fibroinflammatory disorder of unknown etiology that primarily affects the mesentery of the small intestine during late adult life. Only about twenty pediatric cases have been reported to date, but none has been reported in Chinese children.A 5-year-old Chinese male presented with a 4-week history of recurrent bloating, abdominal pain, anorexia and vomiting. On admission, physical examination showed a severely distended abdomen. Biochemical investigations showed a slightly increased C-reactive protein, and normal serum levels of electrolytes and erythrocyte sedimentation rate. An abdominal film showed small intestine obstruction and massive ascites. An exploratory laparotomy revealed widespread inflammatory fibrotic adhesions between the bowel and the abdominal wall, thickening of the small bowel and massive ascites. During a prolonged hospital course, a 2nd surgery (4 months after 1st exploratory laparotomy) was performed in order to close the ileostomy and revealed that the bowel was still severely edematous, with very tight adhesions between the bowel and the abdominal wall. Histopathological examination of excised mesentery and nodules showed chronic inflammatory cell infiltration, fat necrosis and fibrosis. A diagnosis of sclerosing mesenteritis was finally established. Prednisolone at 2 mg/kg was started and he experienced rapid clinical improvement in 4 weeks.Sclerosing mesenteritis is extremely rare in children and often misdiagnosed due to its nonspecific clinical manifestation. It is important to be aware of sclerosing mesenteritis when evaluating a child with intractable abdominal pain, bloating, intestinal obstruction and massive ascites.