Type of disease: Rare conditions
Chilaiditi syndrome is a rare condition where a portion of the large intestine, called the transverse colon, loops upward and becomes settled between the diaphragm (the muscle that controls breathing) and the liver (an organ that aids in digestion), causing symptoms such as this abdominal pain, constipation, shortness of breath, and nausea. The colon is normally located completely below the liver. To have the syndrome, a person must have symptoms as well as an out of place colon. A person without symptoms is considered to have a “Chilaiditi’s sign,” which requires no treatment unless it develops into the syndrome. The exact cause for sign and syndrome are not known, but the elderly, especially those with certain lung or liver diseases, such as emphysema or cirrhosis, may be more prone to the condition. It is also thought that the condition may be caused by a weakened, or absent ligament that holds the colon in its usual position. The syndrome is easily diagnosed with a chest x-ray or CT-scan. Curing Chilaiditi syndrome involves returning the colon back to its normal position. Initial treatment is usually conservative: a combination of bed rest, fluid therapy, bowel decompression and enemas. If this is ineffective, surgeons can move the colon back into place and anchor it to the abdominal wall, preventing syndrome reoccurrence.