ISCHEMIC COLITIS

Description

  • Inflammatory condition of the large intestine, or colon
  • Develops when there isn’t enough blood flow to the colon
  • Not enough oxygen for the cells in the digestive system

Symptoms

  • Mild to moderate abdominal pain
  • Blood is present in the stool
  • An urgent need to have a bowel movement
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • A feeling of urgency to move the bowels

Causes

  • Buildup of fatty deposits on the walls of an artery
  • Dangerously low blood pressure (hypotension)
  • Bowel obstruction caused by a hernia
  • Surgery involving the heart, blood vessels or digestive system
  • Cocaine or methamphetamine use
  • Other medical disorders that affect the blood
  • Hormone medications, such as estrogen
  • Certain medications for irritable bowel syndrome

Risk Factors

  • Congestive heart failure
  • Diabetes
  • Low blood pressure
  • History of surgical procedures to the aorta
  • Medications that can cause constipation
  • Adults older than age 60
  • High cholesterol
  • Heavy exercise
  • Surgery

Diagnostic Tests

  • Ultrasound and abdominal CT scans
  • Stool analysis
  • CT or MRI angiography
  • Colonoscopy
  • Blood test to check for white blood cell count

Treatment

  • Antibiotics
  • Liquid diet
  • Intravenous (IV) fluids
  • Pain medication
  • Surgery to remove blockage in the arteries

Medications

  • Thrombolytics
  • Vasodilators

Prevention

  • Treat heart conditions that can lead to blood clots
  • Monitor blood cholesterol and blood pressure
  • Avoid migraine medications
  • Quit Smoking
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Exercise regularly