Open Access Open Badges Case report

Chronic calcium pyrophosphate crystal inflammatory arthritis induced by extreme hypomagnesemia in short bowel syndrome

Markus Hahn1, Martin Raithel1*, Alexander Hagel1, Teresa Biermann3 and Bernhard Manger2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Medicine I, Gastroenterology, University Erlangen-Nürnberg, Ulmenweg 18, Erlangen, 91054, Germany

2 Department of Medicine III, Rheumatology, University Erlangen-Nürnberg, Ulmenweg 18, Erlangen, 91054, Germany

3 Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University Erlangen-Nürnberg, Schwabachanlage 6, Erlangen, 91054, Germany

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Gastroenterology 2012, 12:129  doi:10.1186/1471-230X-12-129

Published: 22 September 2012



Short bowel syndrome (SBS) may induce a plethora of clinical symptoms ranging from underweight to nutrient-, vitamin- and electrolyte deficiencies. The objective of this case report is to illustrate how demanding the management of a 60 year old patient with SBS and recurrent joint attacks was for different medical disciplines.

Case presentation

The patient with SBS presented with a body mass index of 16.5 kg/m2 after partial jejunoileal resection of the small intestine with a six year long history of recurrent pain attacks in multiple peripheral joints, chronic diarrhoea and food intolerances. Pain attacks occurred 4–5 times a week with a median consumption of 15 mg prednisone per day. The interdisciplinary workup after several gastroenterologic, rheumatologic, radiologic, psychiatric and orthopedic consultations is shown including successful treatment steps.

Clinical diagnosis revealed no systemic inflammatory disease, but confirmed extreme hypomagnesemia (0.2 mmol/l) after reproducible pathological magnesium resorption tests as causative for chronic calcium pyrophosphate crystal inflammatory arthritis (pseudogout, chondrocalcinosis).

Multidisciplinary treatment included application of colchicines, parenteral nutrition and magnesium substitution, antiperistaltic agents and avoidance of intolerant foods. Normalization of magnesium levels and a marked remission of joint attacks were achieved after six months with significant reduction of prednisone to 1.5 mg/day.


Despite the rarity of this condition, it is important to know that hypomagnesaemia may be associated with calcium pyrophosphate crystal inflammatory arthritis (chondrocalcinosis) and that SBS patients may be prone to develop extreme hypomagnesaemia causing recurrent joint attacks without systemic inflammation.

SBS; Hypomagnesemia; Chondrocalcinosis; Pseudogout; CPPD