Treatments and drugs

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Treatment of intestinal ischemia involves restoring a sufficient blood supply to your digestive tract. Options vary depending on the cause and severity of your condition.

Colon ischemia

Your doctor may recommend antibiotics to treat or prevent infections. Your doctors also can treat any underlying medical condition, such as congestive heart failure or an irregular heartbeat. You'll need to stop medications that constrict your blood vessels, such as migraine drugs, hormone medications and some heart drugs. Colon ischemia may also heal on its own.

If your colon has been damaged, you may need surgery to remove the dead tissue. Or you may need surgery to bypass a blockage in one of your intestinal arteries.

Acute mesenteric artery ischemia

Surgery may be necessary to remove a blood clot, to bypass an artery blockage, or to repair or remove a damaged section of intestine. Treatment also may include antibiotics and medications to prevent clots from forming, dissolve clots or dilate blood vessels.

If angiography is done to diagnose the problem, it may be possible to simultaneously remove a blood clot or to open up a narrowed artery with angioplasty. Angioplasty involves using a balloon inflated at the end of a catheter to compress the fatty deposits and stretch the artery, making a wider path for the blood to flow. A spring-like metallic tube (stent) also may be placed in your artery to help keep it open.

Chronic mesenteric artery ischemia

Treatment involves restoring blood flow to your intestine. Your surgeon can bypass the blocked arteries or widen narrowed arteries with angioplasty therapy or by placing a stent.

Ischemia due to mesenteric venous thrombosis

If your intestines show no signs of damage, you'll likely need to take anticoagulant medication for about three to six months. If tests show you have a blood-clotting disorder, you may take anticoagulants for the rest of your life. Anticoagulants help prevent clots from forming. If portions of your bowel show signs of damage, you might need surgery to remove the damaged section.

Aug. 15, 2015