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Benign gastro-colic fistula in a woman presenting with weight loss and intermittent vomiting: a case report

Kate Barrett*, Michael W Hii and Richard J Cade

Author Affiliations

St Vincent's Hospital Melbourne, PO Box 2900 Fitzroy, Victoria 3065, Australia

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Journal of Medical Case Reports 2011, 5:313  doi:10.1186/1752-1947-5-313

Published: 14 July 2011



Benign gastro-colic fistula is a rare occurrence in modern surgery due to the progress in medical management of gastric ulcer disease. Here we report the first case of benign gastro-colic fistula occurring whilst on proton-pump inhibitor therapy. This is a case study of benign gastro-colic fistula and review of the available literature in regards to etiology, diagnosis, management and prognosis.

Case presentation

An 84-year-old woman of Caucasian background presented with 12 months of worsening abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and weight loss on a background of known gastric ulcer disease.


The leading cause of gastro-colic fistulae has changed from benign to malignant due to improved medical management of gastric ulcer disease. The rarity and non-specific symptoms of gastro-colic fistula make the diagnosis difficult and it is best made by barium enema; however, computed tomography has not been formally evaluated. Surgical management with en bloc resection of the fistula tract is the preferred treatment. Benign gastro-colic fistulae are becoming exceedingly rare in the context of modern medical management of gastric ulcer disease. Surgical management is the gold standard for both benign and malignant disease.