Tests and diagnosis

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Ischemic colitis can be misdiagnosed because it is often confused with other disorders, especially inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Based on your signs and symptoms, your doctor may recommend these imaging tests:

  • Ultrasound and abdominal CT scans, to provide images of your colon that can be helpful in ruling out other disorders, such as IBD.
  • Stool analysis, to rule out infection as a cause of your symptoms.
  • CT or MR angiography, to provide detailed images of blood flow in your small intestine and to look for blocked arteries. This test is usually used only if ischemia is suspected in your small bowel as well as in your colon.

Rarely, colon cancer can cause ischemic colitis. Your doctor will recommend colonoscopy to check for cancer, usually after the symptoms of ischemic colitis have eased. It's important to wait for intestinal inflammation to go down because inflammation can hide cancer.

Oct. 10, 2012