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Ischemic Colitis

more about Ischemic Colitis

  • The colon is supplied with blood by the inferior mesenteric artery. If the blood supply becomes compromised (blocked or cut off) to this area, part of the colon may infarct (die). This condition is known as ischemic colitis.

  • Crampy abdominal pain
  • Mild Diarrhea that may be bloody
  • Blood may be passed from the rectum

  • Examination:
    1. May have little tenderness -- pain is out proportion to the tenderness
    2. Rectal exam may reveal guaiac positive stool
  • Complete blood count, chemistry panel, and coagulation panel should be checked; WBC (white blood cell) count is often elevated, CO2 level may be low, and "gap" acidosis may be present.
  • Arterial Lactic acid level may be elevated.
  • CT scan will strongly suggest the diagnosis.
  • Colonoscopy may be performed to confirm the diagnosis.

  • Support with fluids and oxygenation
  • Surgical resection of infarcted (dead) bowel may be needed. Early consultation with a surgeon is usually prudent.

  • This is a life-threatening emergency, and immediate emergency medical treatment is needed.

more about Ischemic Colitis

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