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Toxic megacolon (TM) is defined as total or non-segmental obstructive dilatation of the colon to an external diameter of 6.0 cm or greater, associated with systemic toxicity. It is a potentially fatal condition that represents the end of a spectrum of severe colitis. Typically a complication of ulcerative colitis, it is also seen as a consequence of infective colitis. Of particular concern, due to its high mortality, is TM associated with pseudomembranous colitis due to Clostridium difficile infection.

Original publication




Journal article


Medicine (United Kingdom)


Elsevier Ltd

Publication Date



Clostridium difficile, Colectomy, Pseudomembranous colitis, Toxic dilatation, Ulcerative colitis