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Ogilvie’s syndrome: bidirectional effect of hypokalaemia
  1. Mehmet Selman ONTAN and
  2. Ahmet Turan ISIK
  1. Unit for Aging Brain and Dementia, Department of Geriatric Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Dokuz Eylul University, Izmir, Turkey
  1. Correspondence to Professor Ahmet Turan ISIK, Unit for Aging Brain and Dementia, Department of Geriatric Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Dokuz Eylul University, Izmir, Turkey; atisik{at}

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Ogilvie syndrome (OS) describes an acute colonic pseudo-obstruction characterised by intestinal dilatation without mechanical obstruction of the large intestine, usually affecting elderly people with multiple comorbidities.1 The early diagnosis and intervention is essential to prevent ischaemia and perforation. In addition, water and electrolyte sequestration due to colonic dilatation may cause serious electrolyte disturbance.2 Early diagnosis is crucial for OS in older adults because their prompt treatment prevents the use of potentially harmful drugs, surgical procedures or inappropriate interventions. On the one hand, the disease is characterised by constipation; however, secretory diarrhoea may also occur. Secretory diarrhoea in patients with OS has significance because of complications such as hypokalaemia caused by increased potassium channel activity in the colon.3 In this case report, we presented a patient with constipation and OS who developed secretory diarrhoea and severe hypokalaemia.


An 85-year-old female patient who did not take any hypokalaemic medication was admitted to the geriatrics outpatient clinic with complaints of feeding problems and abdominal distension for 3 days. Medications on admission were donepezil 10 mg/day, escitalopram …

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  • Contributors The patient was followed up by MSO under the supervision of ATI. The case was designed and reported by MCO. Critical revision was made by ATI.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.