Colon ischemia (CI) is the most common form of ischemic injury of the gastrointestinal tract. Determining the precise incidence of CI is a challenging task, because of its often brief, mild nature, and frequent spontaneous resolution, as well as its misdiagnosis as other diseases. While many underlying disease conditions may predispose patients to CI, an important and possibly overlooked etiology is that of pharmacologically induced alterations of colonic blood flow. This review details the pharmacologic agents known to be associated with CI; when possible, their mechanisms of action are described. The aim of this paper is to highlight this often unrecognized cause of CI, thereby helping physicians to be aware of the association, to recognize its occurrence promptly, and to possibly reduce morbidity and mortality.
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