Intestinal Strangulation and Intestinal Infarction

Intestinal Strangulation
The small intestines function to absorb usable nutrients from the food and fluids we ingest for supplying the building blocks of products all through the body. The large intestines perform minimal absorption functions. Large intestine harbors helpful bacteria that produce nutrients we can’t obtain from food and function to eliminate the byproducts of digestion from the body. A large portion of our blood supply nourishes the cells of the digestive system. A goodly portion of our immune protection actively patrols the intestines as well, this is because most things that enter the body do so through the mouth and digestive system, some beneficial and others not.
The surface area of the small intestines covers nearly the area of a tennis court so that we may receive maximal absorption of nutrients from items we take in. Losing a portion of the intestines poses great infection risks to the body, increases the risk of future intestinal ischemic episodes, decreases one’s ability to absorb maximal amounts of nutrients, and decreases the chance that foreign invaders of the body will be detected.

Intestinal strangulation occurs when blood flow is blocked to a portion of the gastrointestinal tract. Strangulation of the intestines happens in about 10 to 20 percent of cases with patients experiencing intestinal blockage. Physical causes of intestinal strangulation are adhesions, blockages (food, feces, parasitic worms), scarring, hernias, volvulus, and intussusception. Volvulus is a condition where the intestines are twisting around themselves causing the strangulation. Intussusception is a condition where a portion of the intestine is intruding into a portion surrounding it- a sort of folding in on itself. Disease states that can lead to intestinal strangulation are pancreatic cancer, gallstones, Crohn’s disease, colorectal cancer, and diverticulitis. Symptoms of intestinal strangulation are abdominal pain and cramping, edema and bloating, fever, loss of appetite, nausea/vomiting. Complications of intestinal strangulation are:

  • Intestinal infarction (meaning portions of tissue are without oxygen and nutrients provided by blood flow, resulting in localized tissue death)
  • Peritonitis (infection)
  • Perforation
  • Scarring if a portion of intestines was injured
  • Shock
  • Death  

Intestinal Infarction

Intestinal infarction, also known as dead bowel, dead gut, intestinal necrosis, or ischemic bowel, are all names for the condition in which a portion of the intestine(s) actually dies due to blood supply depletion (known as intestinal strangulation). Intestinal infarction needs to be treated promptly to improve prognosis as it carries with it a very high chance of infection to organs, fluids, and cells surrounding the necrotic gut tissue. Causes of intestinal infarction are adhesions, blockages (scar tissue, cholesterol plaques), embolus, hernias, hypertension. Symptoms of intestinal infarction are abdominal pain, fever, nausea, and vomiting. Complications of intestinal infarction are:

  • Colostomy
  • Ileostomy
  • Infection
  • Peritonitis
  • Perforations
  • Scarring
  • Shock
  • Death

If you or a loved one suffered harm, or a worsening of condition due to a failure to diagnose intestinal strangulation or intestinal infarction, you may be eligible for monetary damages. Call the Sweeney Law Firm and let us review the facts. You may have a medical malpractice case. We work on a contingency fee basis, meaning there is no fee for representation unless a settlement or recovery of fees is made on your behalf.

Links to related articles on this site: Ileus, Meconium Peritonitis, Peritonitis and SBP