Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Ischemic Bowel Disease Overview

What is ischemic bowel disease?
A person with ischemic bowel disease has narrowing of the arteries that supply blood and oxygen to the intestines. As the narrowing worsens, the arteries become unable to supply enough oxygen to meet demand. This can cause abdominal pain and damage to the intestine. Ischemic bowel disease is caused by hardening of the arteries, called atherosclerosis. It is rare in those who are less than 50 years old. Severe ischemic bowel disease can be life threatening.

What are the symptoms of ischemic bowel disease?
The most common symptom of ischemic bowel disease includes crampy abdominal pain that usually worsens after meals. Additional symptoms include blood in the stool, black stool, red stools, constipation, and diarrhea. The most common symptom of life threatening ischemic bowel disease include severe abdominal pain.

How does the doctor treat ischemic bowel disease?
Treatment for ischemic bowel disease may include anticoagulant medication and angioplasty. Treatment for severe ischemic bowel disease may include papaverine injection, which dilates the arteries that supply blood to the intestine, and surgery.

Continue to Ischemic Bowel Disease Incidence

Last Updated: Feb 10, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Ischemic Bowel Disease References
  1. Greenwald DA, Brandt LJ, Reinus JF. Ischemic bowel disease in the elderly. Gastroenterol Clin North Am. 2001 Jun;30(2):445-73. [11432300]
  2. Hansen KJ, Wilson DB, Craven TE, Pearce JD, English WP, Edwards MS, Ayerdi J, Burke GL. Mesenteric artery disease in the elderly. J Vasc Surg. 2004 Jul;40(1):45-52. [15218461]
  3. Leo PJ, Simonian HG. The role of serum phosphate level and acute ischemic bowel disease. Am J Emerg Med. 1996 Jul;14(4):377-9. [8768159]
  4. Schoots IG, Levi MM, Reekers JA, Lameris JS, van Gulik TM. Thrombolytic therapy for acute superior mesenteric artery occlusion. J Vasc Interv Radiol. 2005 Mar;16(3):317-29. [15758127]
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