Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Intestinal ischemia

Like your other organs, the organs in your digestive system need a constant supply of oxygen-rich blood to function properly. A diminished blood flow to your small intestine or colon is referred to as intestinal ischemia (is-KE-me-uh).
Intestinal ischemia can cause pain and make it difficult for your intestines to do their job. In severe cases, loss of blood flow to the intestines can lead to damaged or dead intestinal tissue, not unlike what happens to the heart during a heart attack.
Intestinal ischemia may develop suddenly (acute intestinal ischemia), often as a result of a blood clot blocking the flow of blood to or from the intestines, or it may develop gradually over time (chronic intestinal ischemia), due to a variety of causes.
Undetected and untreated, intestinal ischemia may be fatal. This condition, though uncommon, is serious and often requires immediate medical care. Depending on the cause of your intestinal ischemia, treatment options may include medications, surgery or a procedure to open your arteries.

NEXT: Signs and symptoms


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