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Fulminant amebic colitis is a rare disease with high morbidity and mortality.This study was designed to identify the most frequent clinical and histopathologic features of fulminant amebic colitis and to analyze results of surgical treatment and the existence of risk factors for mortality.A retrospective analysis was conducted of clinical and histopathologic data of 55 patients with fulminant amebic colitis. Data were obtained from the files of autopsies and surgical operations that had been performed at a referral center in Mexico from 1943 through 1994.Median age was 52 (range, 18-79) years. There were 34 men (62 percent) and 21 women (38 percent). Diabetes mellitus and chronic alcoholism were the most frequent diseases in association with fulminant amebic colitis (40 and 31 percent, respectively). The most frequent clinical manifestations were abdominal pain, diarrhea, rectal bleeding, and fever. There was a co-existent amebic liver abscess in 54 percent of patients. The main histopathologic characteristics were necrosis, presence of trophozoites, and acute and/or chronic inflammation. Of 25 patients who underwent surgery, only six survived (operative mortality, 76 percent; overall mortality, 89 percent). The variables that correlated with mortality were longer duration of symptoms, lower count of leukocytes, nonsurgical treatment, nonresective surgical procedure, hospital admission before 1971, and invasion of trophozoites into or through the muscularis.The results may help to obtain an earlier diagnosis and establish proper treatment of fulminant amebic colitis.