Is "ischemic" colitis ischemic?

Ryan M. Carlson, Robert D. Madoff

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Ischemic colitis appears to be a collection of diseases rather than a single entity. On the one hand, there is the colitis that truly appears to be caused by a lack of blood flow and, on the other hand, there is the disease that is called "ischemic" for lack of a better diagnosis - the colitis that is more "idiopathic" than "ischemic." Four widely held tenets of "ischemic" colitis are wrong: 1) the colon is not particularly sensitive to ischemia; 2) ischemic colitis is rarely preceded by a period of global hypoperfusion; 3) the "watershed areas" are not disproportionately affected; and 4) colonoscopy with biopsy is not specific for the disease. The cause of "ischemic" colitis is unknown. Therefore it is, until proven otherwise, "acute idiopathic colitis.".

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)370-373
Number of pages4
JournalDiseases of the colon and rectum
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2011


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