Perforated ileum as the initial presentation of Crohn’s disease, a case report



The perforation of the bowel as the first presentation of inflammatory bowel disease is a rare occurrence reported in about 0.15–3 % of the literature and is especially unusual in young patients <30 years of age. It is a serious event with most of the perforations occurring on the ileum. This article describes a unique case of a 20-year-old female patient who presented with perforated ileum due to Crohn’s disease as an initial presentation operated at a private surgical center.

Case presentation

We present a case of a previously asymptomatic 21-year-old female presenting with intestinal perforation secondary to Crohn’s disease for the first time.

The patient presented with crampy abdominal pain and frequent bilious vomiting of 3 days duration. She also had a high-grade fever and abdominal distension. WBC was 24,000 and an abdominal CT scan showed perforation of the bowel consistent with Crohn’s Disease. Ruling out other etiologies perforated viscous secondary to query Crohn’s Disease was entertained and laparotomy revealed 2 × 2 cm perforation on the anti-mesenteric border of the terminal ileum. The perforated segment was resected primary anastomosis was performed.

Following surgery, the patient was discharged symptom-free and linked to the Gastroenterology unit after a biopsy confirmed Crohn’s disease. She was started on Prednisolone and Azathioprine exactly a month after her surgery. Her 6-month follow-up is smooth.


Presentation of bowel perforation as an initial feature of Crohn’s Disease is a rare phenomenon. Adequate resuscitation followed by emergency laparotomy with primary resection and anastomosis could be life-saving for a hemodynamically stable patient.

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