Colon ischemia: recent insights and advances

Curr Gastroenterol Rep. 2010 Oct;12(5):383-90. doi: 10.1007/s11894-010-0127-y.


Ischemic colitis is the most common manifestation of ischemic injury to the gastrointestinal tract, and the variety of defined causes is increasing. Local hypoperfusion and reperfusion injury are both thought to contribute to the disease process, which manifests with a wide spectrum of injury including reversible colopathy (subepithelial hemorrhage and edema), transient colitis, chronic colitis, stricture, gangrene, and fulminant universal colitis. The distribution is typically segmental. Older studies showed that any portion of the colon can be involved; recently, it was established that the site of involvement and prognosis can be correlated. In particular, isolated involvement of the right side of the colon was shown to have a different presentation and worse outcome than ischemic colitis involving other segments. Diagnosis is usually made clinically and supported by radiologic imaging and colonoscopic evaluation. Most patients respond to conservative supportive therapy, although some with severe disease require surgical intervention.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aortic Aneurysm, Abdominal / complications
  • Colitis, Ischemic* / diagnosis
  • Colitis, Ischemic* / etiology
  • Colitis, Ischemic* / physiopathology
  • Colitis, Ischemic* / therapy
  • Colon / diagnostic imaging
  • Colon / pathology
  • Colonoscopy
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Intestinal Obstruction / complications
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome / complications
  • Prognosis
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed