Pathophysiology and diagnosis of ischemic colitis

M. Watanabe, H. Hasegawa, M. Kitajima

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Ischemic colitis is the most common manifestation of gastrointestinal ischemia. The presumed etiologies are numerous; however, it typically develops spontaneously. It is classified into the transient type, stricture type, and gangrenous type. The majority of patients with ischemic colitis, excluding the gangrenous type, follow a benign clinical course in the absence of major vasculature occlusion. It usually presents as an acute abdominal illness with bloody diarrhea. Diagnosis is confirmed by colonoscopy and/or barium enema. Nongangrenous ischemic colitis usually requires only conservative therapy, including repeated careful assessment, pain control, and fluid replacement, and is associated with a good prognosis. It may lead to the sequela of persistent segmental colitis or colonic strictures, occasionally requiring surgery. Urgent surgery and high morbidity and mortality rates are hallmarks of the gangrenous type. Special consideration must be given to those patients in whom ischemic colitis develops in the context of colon cancer or obstructive colonic lesions. Successful management of a patient with ischemic colitis requires a high degree of clinical suspicion, early diagnosis, careful follow-up, and prompt recognition of persistent disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)347-351
Number of pages5
JournalNippon Geka Gakkai zasshi
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1999 May
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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