Colitis is a term that refers to a disease that affects the large intestine or colon. Ischemic colitis involves an area of inflammation (irritation and swelling) caused by interference with the blood flow to the large intestine.
Most cases of ischemic colitis are mild, self-limited, and do not require therapy. The death rate is high when gangrene occurs as a result of inadequate blood supply.
Severe cases can lead to gangrene of the intestine, with perforation of the colon and peritonitis.
Causes of Ischemic Colitis
Ischemic colitis occurs when there is either insufficient or no blood flow to part or all of the large intesting. The disorder is usually a manifestation of peripheral vascular disease. It usually affects people over 50.
Previous aortic surgery with inadvertent damage to the artery supplying the colon can lead to this disorder. Similarly, a history of stroke, hypotension (or low blood pressure) and congestive heart failure may produce ischemic colitis. Diabetes is a condition that is associated with this, probably by accelerating peripheral vascular disease.
Signs and Symptoms of Ischemic Colitis
Symptoms caused by ischemic colitis include abdominal pain, fever and vomiting. Bright red blood from the rectum or in the stool may occur. Diarrhea is a common symptom.
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Medical Content Last Updated on 07/12/2008
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