Intestinal ischemia and infarction is damage to (ischemia) or death of (infarction) part of the intestine. It is due to a decrease in the blood supply to the area.
Intestinal necrosis; Ischemic bowel; Dead bowel; Dead gut
There are several possible causes of intestinal ischemia and infarction.
- Hernia: If the intestine moves into the wrong place or becomes tangled, this can cut off blood flow.
Adhesions: The intestine may become trapped in scar tissue from past surgery (adhesions). This can lead to ischemia if left untreated.
- Embolus: A
blood clotfrom the heart or main blood vessels may travel through the bloodstream and block one of the arteries supplying the intestine. People who have had a heart attack or who have arrhythmias, such as atrial fibrillation, are at risk for this problem.
- Arterial thrombosis: The arteries that supply blood to the intestine may become so narrowed or blocked from
atherosclerotic disease(cholesterol buildup). When this happens in the arteries to the heart, it causes a heart attack. When it happens in the arteries to the intestine, it causes intestinal ischemia.
- Venous thrombosis: The veins carrying blood away from the intestines may become blocked by blood clots This interrupts blood flow in the intestines. This is more common in people with liver disease, cancer, or blood clotting disorders.
- Low blood pressure: Very low blood pressure in patients who already have narrowing of the intestinal arteries may also cause intestinal ischemia. This often occurs in people with other serious medical problems.
The main symptoms of intestinal ischemia is abdominal pain. Other symptoms include:
- Severe abdominal pain, even though the area is not very tender when touched
Exams and Tests
Laboratory tests may show a high
Other tests include:
Angiogram CT scanof the abdomen
- Doppler ultrasound of the abdomen
These tests do not always diagnose the problem. Sometimes, the only sure way to diagnose intestinal ischemia is with a surgical procedure.
In most cases, the condition needs to be treated with surgery. The section of intestine that has died is removed, and the healthy remaining ends of the bowel are reconnected.
In some cases, a
Intestinal ischemia is a serious condition that can result in death if not treated promptly. The outlook depends on the cause. Prompt treatment can lead to a good outcome.
Intestinal infarction may require a colostomy or ileostomy, which may be short-term or permanent.
Some people may become severely ill with fever and a bloodstream infection (
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Call your health care provider if you have any severe abdominal pain.
Preventive measures include:
- Control risk factors, such as irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol
- Do not smoke
- Eat a nutritious diet
- Quickly treat hernias