The occurrence of clinical manifestations of mechanical intestinal obstruction in eight cases of systemic amyloidosis is reported. Seven similar cases have been recorded in the literature and are briefly reviewed. Correct diagnosis is important in these cases if useless surgical treatment or prolonged diagnostic investigations are to be avoided. Gastrointestinal involvement by systemic amyloidosis should be considered in a patient presenting with clinical manifestations of mechanical obstruction but paralytic ileus seen on plain films. In these cases an attempt should be made, by means of a barium enema, to exclude an obstructing lesion of the colon or distal small bowel. Once amyloidosis is considered, it can be confirmed easily and safely by biopsy of the rectal or small-intestinal mucosa.
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