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Flashcards in Ischemic and Vascular Disorders Deck (79):

Main arterial supply of the GI

Cardiac output: 7000 ml

Celiac artery 800 ml

SMA: 800 ml

IMA: 480 ml


Describe the SMA

It is responsible of giving the vascular support to pancreatico-duodenal area, small intestine and right colon. It arises approximately 1 cm below the celiac artery and runs toward the cecum, terminating as the ileo-colic artery. 

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A vast network of collateral blood vessel gives substantial protection from ischemia or infarction in a setting of segmental vascular occlusion

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How do catecholamines affect splanchic circulation?

they are released in response to oligemic shock and cause vasoncontriction


How do Angio II and ADH affect splanchic circulation?



How do gastrin, CCK, and secretin affect splanchic circulation?


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T or F. Ischemic changes are more common in the small than in the large bowel



What are some major categories of intestinal ischemia?

Decreased arterial supply

Decreased venous return

Low flow states (heart failure, hemorrhage, shock)


Depending on the layers affected, infarcts are classified as:




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What are the main ischemic diseases of the GI tract?

•Ischemic colitis

•Acute mesenteric ischemia

•Chronic mesenteric ischemia

•Venous mesenteric ischemia


What is the ultimate  cause of ischemic colitis?

Lack of BLOOD FLOW to the mucosa


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The main symptoms of ischemic colitis center around whether it is occlusive or non-occlusive. What are some main causes of non-occlusive ischemic colitis and how does it present?

May occur spontaneously or be caused by hypotension, cardiac failure, sepsis and are either  subclinical or produce mild symptoms


The main symptoms of ischemic colitis center around whether it is occlusive or non-occlusive. What are some main causes of occlusive ischemic colitis and how does it present?

Thrombosis or embolization of the mesenteric arteries

Ligation of IMA during aortic reconstruction or colon resection

Diffuse disease of small vessels (diabetes mellitus, vasculitis)

Venous outflow obstruction (intra-abdominal inflammatory processes, hypercoagulability states)


Extrinsic and intrinsic obstruction (tumor, adhesions, volvulus, rectal prolapse)


The outcome of ischemic colitis depends on what?

severity, extent, rapidity of onset, status of collateral circulation, ability of bowel wall to resist bacterial infection


Ischemic colitis most commonly affects the what areas? 

Wateshed areas of colon that have limited collateral circulation such as the splenic flexure and rectosigmoid area.

Rectum is generally not involved. 


Ischemic colitis (also spelled ischaemic colitis) is a medical condition in which inflammation and injury of the large intestine result from inadequate blood supply. Although uncommon in the general population, ischemic colitis occurs with greater frequency in the elderly, and is the most common form of bowel ischemia.

Causes of the reduced blood flow can include changes in the systemic circulation (e.g. low blood pressure) or local factors such as constriction of blood vessels or a blood clot. In most cases, no specific cause can be identified

Ischemic colitis can span a wide spectrum of severity; most patients are treated supportively and recover fully, while a minority with very severe ischemia may develop sepsis and become critically, sometimes fatally, ill


How are pts. with mild ischemic colitis tx?

Patients with mild to moderate ischemic colitis are usually treated with IV fluids, analgesia, and bowel rest (that is, no food or water by mouth) until the symptoms resolve. Those with severe ischemia who develop complications such as sepsis, intestinal gangrene, or bowel perforation may require more aggressive interventions such as surgery and intensive care. Most patients make a full recovery; occasionally, after severe ischemia, patients may develop long-term complications such as a stricture or chronic colitis


Mesenteric ischemia is a medical condition in which injury of the small intestine occurs due to not enough bloodsupply.  It can come on suddenly, known as acute mesenteric ischemia, or gradually, known as chronic mesenteric ischemia

Acute disease often presents with sudden severe pain. Symptoms may come on more slowly in those with acute on chronic disease


How does AMI present?

Early abdominal pain without ileus (a painful obstruction of the ileum or other part of the intestine)

    Peritoneal signs only in advanced disease

    Not always blood 

Signs and symptoms of chronic disease include abdominal pain after eating, unintentional weight loss, vomiting, and being afraid of eating.


What are some causes of occlusive AMI?

Embolism generally coming from atherosclerotic plaques: Origin of SMA

                        Aortic dissection




What are some causes of non-occlusive AMI?

significant reduction in mesenteric flow secondary to cardiac failure or hypovolemic shock


T or F. AMI is a medical or surgical emergency

T. Delay in the diagnosis and treatment may result in bowel necrosis


How is AMI diagnosed?

X-ray, CT showing thickened bowel wall, ileus, and portal vein gas


Angiography (70-100% sensitive; 100% specific)


What are the risk factors for AMI?

Risk factors include atrial fibrillation, heart failure, chronic renal failure, being prone to forming blood clots, and previous myocardial infarction


Three progressive phases of mesenteric ischemia have been described:

A hyper active stage occurs first, in which the primary symptoms are severe abdominal pain and the passage of bloody stools. Many patients get better and do not progress beyond this phase.

A paralytic phase can follow if ischemia continues; in this phase, the abdominal pain becomes more widespread, the belly becomes more tender to the touch, and bowel motility decreases, resulting in abdominal bloating, no further bloody stools, and absent bowel sounds on exam.

Finally, a shock phase can develop as fluids start to leak through the damaged colon lining. This can result in shock and metabolic acidosis with dehydration, low blood pressure, rapid heart rate, and confusion. Patients who progress to this phase are often critically ill and require intensive care.


Thumb printing represent edema of lamina propria

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What is this showing?

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Ischemic intestines (code phrase= 'dusky bowel'- May be salvageable, but the phrase is often used for infarcted bowel that needs surgical removal)


How does ischemic colitis present histologically?

•Superficial mucosal necrosis

•Hyalinized lamina propria

•Withered or atrophic crypts


•Chronic ulcers and strictures

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What is this showing?

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Pseudomembrane in ischemic bowel


What is this?

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Pseudomembranous colitis 


What is Pseudomembranous colitis?

Pseudomembranous colitis, also called antibiotic-associated colitis or C. difficile colitis, is inflammation of the colon associated with an overgrowth of the bacterium Clostridium difficile (C. diff). This overgrowth of C. difficile is most often related to recent antibiotic use. (•Immuno­suppression is also a predisposing factor)


How does Pseudomembranous colitis present histologically?

•Adherent layer of inflammatory cells and debris.

•The surface epithelium is denuded

•The superficial lamina propria contains a dense infiltrate of neutrophils.

•Superficially damaged crypts are distended by a mucopurulent exudate that forms an eruption reminiscent of a volcano.

These exudates coalesce to form pseudomembranes.

Lamina propria will not show hyalinization like ischemia


Tenderness and bleeding appear late in case of acute mesenteric ischemia

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Pain usually appears during the first hour after eating and last for two to three hours.

Weight loss present in about 80 percent of patients as the result of food aversion. 

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Frequently patients with chronic mesenteric iscehmia have history of what?

underlying atherosclerotic vascular disease


What are the main risk factors for mesenteric venous thrombosis? 

hypercoagulable states, portal hypertension, abdominal infections, blunt abdominal trauma, pancreatitis, splenectomy and malignancy in the portal region.


How does venous mesenteric ischemia affect the GI?

Venous thrombosis produces resistance in mesenteric venous blood flow, bowel wall edema, fluid efflux into the bowel lumen, increased blood viscosity and finally compromise of the arterial blood support.


What is 'upper' GI bleeding defined as?

above the ligament of Treitz


What is obscure bleeding?

bleeding without a clear source

Obscure overt bleeding: macroscopic obscure bleeding

Obscure occult: microscopic obscure bleeding. This is a chronic bleeding frequently presenting as iron deficiency anemia


What is Melena?

black, tarry, loose or sticky, malodorous stool caused by degraded blood in intestine and generally indicates an upper GI source, although it may originate in the right colon


What is hematochezia?

bright red blood from the rectum. It may be mixed with stools and usually indicates a lower GI lesions. When hematochezia is caused by an upper GI source, it indicates a massive hemorrhage


What is the most frequent source of GI bleeding?

acute upper GI bleed (Upper GI bleeding is five times more frequent than lower GI bleeding)


How are acute upper GI bleeds managed?

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In general the management include the following 

1:stabilization of hemodinamic status

2: determine the source

3:stop active bleeding

4: prevent recurrent bleeding 


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In case of GI bleeding the main aspects to investigate through the medical history include the following:

History of peptic disease,

recent use of NSAID,

alcohol or caustic ingestion,

cirrhosis, aortic graft surgery,


cancer, recent nose bleed


What things should be examined on physical exam for a GI bleed?

Hemodinamic stability,

stigmata of cirrhosis,

vascular lesions,


lymph nodes,

epigastric tenderness,

rectal exam


What are some common causes of upper GI bleeding?

•Peptic ulcers

•Gastritis and duodenitis


•Vascular malformation




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In gastric ulcer we always have to consider malignancy as part of the differential. These patient require a surveillance endoscopy to document ulcer’s healing.

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What is the cause in 16% of patients with upper GI bleeding?

Gastric erosions, defined as a Break in the mucosa that does not cross the muscularis mucosa Endoscopically less than 3-5mm and without significant depth

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How do esophageal varices form?

•Venous blood from the GI tract passes through the liver, via the portal vein, before returning to the heart.

•Portal hypertension results in the development of collateral channels at sites where the portal and caval systems communicate.

•These collateral veins allow some drainage to occur, but at the same time they lead to development of congested subepithelial and submucosal venous plexi within the distal esophagus and proximal stomach =varices


What are the main causes of esophagel varices?

cirrhotic patients, hepatic schistosomiasis


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What are Mallory Weiss tears?

lacerations in the region of the gastro-esophageal junction caused by retching with forceful gastric mucosa prolapse

Accounts for 5-10 UGI bleeds

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Mallory-Weiss tears

History of vomiting

Usually resolves with conservative management

Bleeding from Mallory—Weiss tears stops spontaneously in 80 % to 90% of patients, and less than 5% of patients rebleed

Treatment include hemodynamic stabilization and endoscopic treatment. Angiography or surgery are rarely required.


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8% of UGI bleeding

GERD is the most frequent

Infections (CMV, herpes)

Pill-induced damage


What are some common GI vascular malformations?

•Vascular ectasias

•Dieulafoi lesion

•Gastric Antral Vascular Ectasia (GAVE)-  Watermelon stomach



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Vascular Ectasias: Chronic bleeding, frequently occult, presenting as iron deficiency anemia, frequently multiple, treatment: endoscopic

GAVE: Ectatic and saculated mucosal vessels, bleeding usually chronic and occult as vascular ectasias, idiopathic but more frequent in pts with portal hypertension (but not required) , Treatment: Endoscopic

Dieulafoi: Idiopathic, dilated submucosal vessel overlying the epithelium without ulcer, caliber of the artery is 1-3 mm, usually proximal stomach

bleeding can be profuse


Neoplasms represent ___% of UGI bleeds


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Etiology of small-bowel bleeding

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What is the best procedure available to study small intestine mucosa?


Capsule endoscopy

It is extremely helpful in the investigation in patient with occult bleeding 

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What is the most common cause of acute LGI bleed?

Diverticulosis and angiodysplasia


What is the most common cause of chronic LGI bleed?

Hemorrhoids and neoplasia


What is Diverticulosis?

Diverticulosis is the condition of having diverticula in the colon that are not inflamed. These are outpockets of the colonic mucosa and submucosa through weaknesses of muscle layers in the colon wall. They typically cause no symptoms. Diverticular disease occurs when diverticula become inflamed, known as diverticulitis, or bleed


How common is diverticular bleeding?

3% of diverticulosis pts. with 70% of bleeding occuring from the right side


How does diverticular bleeding present?

Acute, painless, maroon to bright red hematochezia

Bleeding is often significant but will stop spontaneously in 70:80% of patients and 25-35% will have a recurrent episode of bleeding


What is the Most common cause of lower GI bleeding?

Diverticuli bleeding, from penetration of a colonic artery into the dome of a diverticula

3:5 % of patient with diverticulosis will bleed. 10-35 % will rebleed.

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What is the tx of diverticular bleeding?

Include hemodynamic stabilization and endoscopic treatment. Angiography with embolization and surgery are the option in patients with persistent bleeding. 


What is angiodysplasia?

 angiodysplasia is a small vascular malformation of the gut. It is a common cause of otherwise unexplained gastrointestinal bleeding and anemia. Lesions are often multiple, and frequently involve the cecum or ascending colon, although they can occur at other places. 

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What are some causes of angiodysplasia?

•Advanced age

•Chronic renal failure


•Prior radiation therapy

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WHat is this?

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Colon cancer should be always considered in the differential of lower GI bleeding.

The most common presentation is occult GI bleeding

Always consider colon malignancy in patients older than 50 presenting with iron deficiency anemia.  


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