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Alternative namesAcute interstitial ischemia
DefinitionIschemic colitis involves an area of inflammation (irritation and swelling with presence of extra immune cells) caused by interference with the blood flow to the large intestine.
Causes, incidence, and risk factorsInterference with blood flow to the colon is the cause of ischemic colitis. The disorder mainly affects people over 50, many of whom have a history of peripheral vascular disease . Other risk factors include previous aortic surgery with inadvertent damage to the artery supplying the colon; history of stroke , low blood pressure , congestive heart failure, or diabetes; and abdominal radiation exposure.
Signs and tests
TreatmentMild, transient ischemic colitis is treated by maintaining good blood pressure. This can be done with medicines and avoiding dehydration. Antibiotics are sometimes used.
Chronic ischemic colitis leading to stricture formation is treated by surgical removal of the stricture.
Severe ischemic colitis leading to gangrene is treated with replacement of blood volume, antibiotics, and surgical removal of the affected bowel area.
Expectations (prognosis)The death rate is high when gangrene occurs as a result of inadequate blood supply.
Calling your health care providerCall your health care provider if symptoms of ischemic colitis develop.
PreventionAwareness of risk may allow early diagnosis and treatment. Absolute prevention may not be possible.
Update Date: 4/25/2002Andrew J. Muir, M.D. M.H.S., Division of Gastroenterology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT