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Gastrointestinal fistula

  • Alternative Names

    Entero-enteral fistula; Enterocutaneous fistula; Fistula - gastrointestinal


    Depending on the part of the intestines that are leaking, gastrointestinal fistulas may cause diarrhea, malabsorption of nutrients, and dehydration.

    • Entero-enteral fistulas may have no symptoms.
    • Enterocutaneous fistulas cause leakage of intestinal contents through an opening in the skin.

    Signs and tests
    • Barium swallow (to identify a gastrointestinal fistula)
    • Barium enema (to identify a fistula involving the colon)
    • CT scan of the abdomen (to identify fistulas between loops of the intestines or an area of infection, called an abscess, associated with the fistula)
    • Fistulogram (involves injecting contrast dye into the opening of the skin of an enterocutaneous fistula and then taking x-rays)