Ischemic colitis: An ever-changing spectrum?

K. L. Parish, W. C. Chapman, L. F. Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Ischemic colitis, or more properly colonic ischemia, became a clear clinical entity in the past 25 years. Yet, early diagnosis of this disease with its various presentations remains a difficult task. A 10-year review at our hospital identified 38 patients with colonic ischemia for comparison with the authors' previous experience and with data from the literature. Several important factors emerge: (1) Twice as many cases occurred after operations (34% in this series vs. 16% in the past), probably because fewer and fewer spontaneous cases were hospitalized. (2) Sixteen patients required operative intervention for colonic ischemia with a mortality of 62 per cent, while those treated nonoperatively had a mortality of 14 per cent. Seven of eight postoperative patients who required a second operative procedure for their colonic ischemia died. A high clinical suspicion is necessary in the postoperative patient, as colonic ischemia appears to be more severe among these patients. Moreover, the high incidence of associated cardiovascular disease indicates that early diagnosis, as well as monitoring of the 'at-risk' patient, is needed for improvement in survival to occur. New monitoring methods, such as tonometry, may help accomplish this goal.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)118-121
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Surgeon
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1991


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