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The term “colitis” broadly refers to inflammation and infection of the colon and rectum. Although the use of this term is most often associated with nonspecific inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, many specific agents, bacteria, parasites, viruses, and insults result in a specific and characteristic type of colitis. This issue of Clinics in Colon and Rectal Surgery is devoted to these miscellaneous colitides. The purpose of this issue is to review current knowledge about the etiology, clinical manifestations, and treatment of the most common specific colitides encountered by colon and rectal surgeons worldwide.
For the longest time, several of these colitides were considered medical and surgical curiosities, to be learned about for certifying examinations and forgotten as soon as the examination was over. Because of the changes in our world and practice environment, most are now seen regularly in the United States. Increased immigration and worldwide travel, increases in the number of immunosuppressed patients (whether the immunosuppression is medically induced after transplantation, used in multimodal treatment of cancer or inflammation, or secondary to diseases such as AIDS), and the emergence of multiresistant and hypervirulent pathogens all have contributed to an explosion in the number and severity of cases of specific colitides with which surgeons are confronted. We hope that this issue will raise surgeons' awareness of the variety and variability of clinical presentations of these entities and fill a gap by providing a concise, up-to-date resource on specific colitides.
The nine articles in this issue cover the breadth and the width of specific colitides. I am grateful to all the authors for their excellent and exhaustive reviews of the topics they were assigned. Drs. Justin A. Maykel and Mark Y. Sun, from the University Massachusetts Medical School reviewed ischemic colitis. I reviewed Clostridium difficile–associated colitis. Bacterial colitides are covered in the article by Drs. Harry T. Papaconstantinou and J. Scott Thomas from Texas A&M University System Health Science Center. Dr. Matthew R. Dixon, from the University of Minnesota, presents viral and fungal colitides. Dr. Karim A. Alavi, also from the University of Minnesota, discusses amebiasis. Dr. Joel E. Goldberg, from Harvard University, presents a review of other nonamebic parasitic colitides. Dr. Amy J. Thorsen, from the University of Minnesota, covers the spectrum of noninfectious colitides. Sexually transmitted proctitides are reviewed by Drs. Matthew L. Voth and Robert P. Akbari, from Temple University School of Medicine. Finally, Drs. Gregory D. Kennedy and Charles P. Heise, from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, cover radiation colitis and proctitis.
It was an honor and a pleasure for me to be guest editor of this issue of Clinics in Colon and Rectal Surgery.