Monday, April 24, 2006

Todd Helton Awaits Lab Results After Colonoscopy

Rockies first baseman Todd Helton was in the process of returning to his Colorado home from Rose Medical Center to await results of a colonoscopy, a procedure in which a tiny camera is inserted into the gastrointestinal system to inspect and collect tissue samples for a biopsy. Biopsy results must await laboratory analysis that cannot be completed for another 18-36 hours, and could confirm whether the 32-year-old slugger has contracted Crohn's disease. The chronic affliction in rare cases can lead to fatal complications such as cancer, so the team is withholding information out of respect for Helton's family. Associated with abdominal pain and bowel irregularities, in the most severe manifestations the malady is associated with fever and headaches such as Helton experienced Thursday and Friday before his hospitalization and subsequent placement on the 15-day disabled list. The disease most often strikes individuals between the ages of 15-35, of Caucasion heritage, in industrialized nations in northern climates. Somewhat mysterious, it can be managed with common medications and diet modification, and commonly is not debilitating for extended periods. However, when associated with high fever, recovery can be prolonged. Frequently the disease is confused with ulcerative colitus, a less serious ailment that presumably would not cause Helton to miss extensive time.