Wednesday, February 22, 2006


Wednesday February 22, 2006
Colonic Necrosis - unusual complication of Kayexalate-Sorbitol

We are using sodium polystyrene sulfonate (SPS or Kayexalate) since last 45 years with great confidence. It is a common practice to add sorbitol to dissolve Kayexalate mainly to avoid fecal impaction or possible bowel obstruction. (Kayexalate binds intraluminal calcium and may cause constipation, fecal impaction or bowel obstruction). One of the relatively unknown complication of Kayexalate-sorbitol combination is colonic necrosis, although has been reported in literature earlier. The exact reason for colonic necrosis is not clear but the diagnosis can be made by the pathologic examination of post-operative specimen or material from endoscopic biopsy and may require specialized expertise and special stains. Sorbitol part is taught to be responsible for complication.

Intensivist need to be wary of possible complication of acute abdomen after administration of kayexalate-sorbitol in 1% of cases, particularly in first 24-36 hours.

See interesting review (full text and references)
here from with free registration. Originally, published at Southern Medical Journal , 93(5): page numbers 511-513, 2000.