Ischemic Colitis: CT Evaluation of 54 Cases

Ischemic Colitis: CT Evaluation of 54 Cases

Ischemic Colitis: CT Evaluation of 54 Cases

Emil J. Balthazar, MD ; Bryan C. Yen, MD ; Richard B. Gordon, MD

1 From the Department of Radiology, New York University-Bellevue Medical Center, 462 First Ave, New York, NY 10016. Received December 10, 1997; revision requested January 27, 1998; final revision received August 17; accepted November 19.

PURPOSE: To review the computed tomographic (CT) scans and medical records of 54 patients with proved ischemic colitis, define the spectrum of CT findings, and assess the effect of CT imaging on treatment.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: The mean age of the patients was 72 years. CT scans were analyzed for the presence of colonic abnormalities and associated findings. Ischemia was clinically unsuspected in 16 patients (30%).

RESULTS: Segmental involvement was seen in 48 patients (89%), with a mean length of involvement of 19 cm (range, 5–38 cm). Wall thickness varied between 2 and 20 mm (mean, 8 mm). All parts of the colon were involved. The CT appearance of the colonic wall varied: (a) A wet appearance with heterogeneous areas of edema was seen in 33 patients (61%). (b) A dry appearance with mild homogeneous thickening was seen in 18 patients (33%). (c) Intramural air was present in three patients (6%). Ischemia resolved in 41 patients (76%), and complications occurred in 13 patients (24%).

CONCLUSION: CT can be used to confirm the clinical suspicion of ischemic colitis, to suggest ischemia when it is unsuspected, and to diagnose complications. Intrinsic colonic abnormalities cannot be used to diagnose or predict the development of infarction.