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What tests will my doctor do to see if I have ischemic colitis?

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Ischemic colitis is a master of disguise. Its symptoms can mimic other conditions, including a flare of ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease. Those long-lasting conditions are caused by a problem with the immune system -- not low blood flow.

Doctors may ask for any of the following tests to help determine if you have ischemic colitis:

  • Imaging tests, like CT scans and angiograms. These use X-rays at different angles to get a detailed image of the colon and blood vessels.
  • Stool samples. Doctors look for infections that may be behind your symptoms.
  • Colonoscopy. This test looks inside your colon; the doctor also may take tissue samples to confirm a diagnosis.

SOURCES:

Brandt, L. , January 2015. The American Journal of Gastroenterology

Elder, K. , July 2009. Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine

Mount Sinai Hospital: "Ischemic Bowel Disease."

The Mayo Clinic: "Ischemic Colitis."

Lawrence J. Brandt, MD, MACG, Professor of Medicine and Surgery Albert Einstein College of Medicine; Emeritus Chief, Division of Gastroenterology Montefiore Medical Center Bronx, NY.

Grames, C. , September 2012. Case Reports in Gastrointestinal Medicine

Office on Women’s Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: "Inflammatory Bowel Disease Fact Sheet."

American Cancer Society: "Health Risks of Smoking Tobacco."

Winchester Hospital: “Ischemic Bowel Disease.”

Medscape: “Chronic Mesenteric Ischemia Treatment & Management.”

Reviewed by Nayana Ambardekar on July 11, 2019

SOURCES:

Brandt, L. , January 2015. The American Journal of Gastroenterology

Elder, K. , July 2009. Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine

Mount Sinai Hospital: "Ischemic Bowel Disease."

The Mayo Clinic: "Ischemic Colitis."

Lawrence J. Brandt, MD, MACG, Professor of Medicine and Surgery Albert Einstein College of Medicine; Emeritus Chief, Division of Gastroenterology Montefiore Medical Center Bronx, NY.

Grames, C. , September 2012. Case Reports in Gastrointestinal Medicine

Office on Women’s Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: "Inflammatory Bowel Disease Fact Sheet."

American Cancer Society: "Health Risks of Smoking Tobacco."

Winchester Hospital: “Ischemic Bowel Disease.”

Medscape: “Chronic Mesenteric Ischemia Treatment & Management.”

Reviewed by Nayana Ambardekar on July 11, 2019

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How is ischemic colitis treated?

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