Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Ischemic Colitis Anatomy

To better understand ischemic bowel disease, it helps to understand the anatomy of the intestines.

The intestine absorbs nutrients from food and liquids. The intestine is about 22 feet long in an adult. It includes the large intestine and the small intestine.

The small intestine has three parts:

  • Duodenum:
    • Connects to the stomach
  • Jejunum:
    • Middle portion of the small intestine
  • Ileum:
    • Lower portion of the small intestine that connects to the cecum (first part of the large intestine)

The large intestine is also known as the colon. It is the last portion of the intestine.

The colon has several parts, including:
  • Cecum:
    • The portion of the colon that connects to the ileum (small intestine). The appendix is a finger-like pouch that comes off of the cecum.
  • Ascending colon:
    • The first section after the small intestine, located on the right side
  • Transverse colon:
    • Sits horizontally across the upper abdomen
  • Descending colon:
    • Located on the left side of the abdomen
  • Sigmoid:
    • A short, S-shaped section above the rectum
  • Rectum:
    • The lowest internal part of the colon

Intestinal anatomy:
  • Entire gastrointestinal tract
  • Intestines and other abdominal organs
  • Blood vessels of the intestines
  • The appendix is a small pouch that protrudes from the wall of the large intestine. It is located at the point where the small intestine turns into the large intestine.

Last Updated: Dec 16, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Ischemic Colitis 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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