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Dis Colon Rectum. 1997 Dec;40(12):1448-54.

Outcome of patients with total colonic ischemia.

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Department of Surgery, Saint Louis University School of Medicine, Missouri, USA.



In this study, we sought to determine the outcome of patients with ischemic colitis, comparing patients with segmental disease with those with total colonic ischemia.


Patients with the diagnosis of ischemic colitis over the past six years were selected and reviewed for demographics, presenting symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment.


Forty-three consecutive patients with ischemic colitis were identified and were grouped into those with segmental ischemic colitis and total colonic ischemia. Mean age was 68.8 years; 28 of 43 patients (65 percent) were males. Diagnosis was established by colonoscopy in 31 of 43 patients (72 percent), whereas in the remainder, diagnosis was made in the operating room. Ischemic colitis developed in the hospital in 17 of 43 patients (40 percent) during admission for an unrelated illness. In 6 of 43 (14 percent) of these patients, ischemic colitis developed following surgery. Thirty-one of 43 patients (72 percent) were found to have segmental colitis; 11 of 31 patients (35 percent) were successfully managed nonoperatively. Segmental colitis was present in 31 of 43 patients (72 percent), and 12 of 31 (35 percent) of these patients were successfully managed nonoperatively. In the patients with segmental colitis who required surgery, the 30-day mortality rate was 22 percent. Among 12 of 17 patients (71 percent) with segmental ischemia treated by resection and stoma, 9 of 12 (75 percent) underwent eventual stoma closure. All 12 patients with total colonic ischemia required surgery, and 9 of 12 patients (75 percent) died.


Ischemic colitis occurs commonly during an unrelated hospital admission and following previous surgery. Most patients treated by resection and stoma undergo stoma closure. Total colonic ischemia carries a worse prognosis than segmental colonic ischemia.

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