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What is ischemic bowel disease?

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Quick Answer

Ischemic bowel disease, also known as ischemic colitis, is a condition in which part of the intestines dies because of lack of blood supply, Medline Plus says. It is a serious condition that requires immediate treatment.

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Full Answer

Many factors can cause ischemic bowel disease, including low blood pressure, blocked or narrowed arteries or veins, an untreated hernia or scar tissue from a previous us surgery, Medline Plus states. Blood clots from liver disease or heart disease make some patients higher risk for the condition.

Symptoms of ischemic bowel disease include diarrhea, vomiting, fever and severe stomach pain that is not tender when touched, Medline reports. Doctors may use blood tests, a CT scan or surgery to diagnose the condition.

Most of the time ischemic bowel disease can be corrected with surgery, Medline says. The surgeon removes the dead intestine and stitches together the remaining healthy ends. Sometimes a colostomy or ileostomy is required, which may be permanent.

Ischemic bowel disease can lead to fatal complications, especially if left untreated, Medline states. Peritonitis or sepsis, both serious infections, can set in. The intestines absorb nutrients the body needs, and if a large amount of tissue has died patients may have a difficult time receiving enough nutrients.

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