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Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology
Volume 16, Issue 9, Pages 597-600
Original Article

Lower Gastrointestinal Bleeding and Ischemic Colitis

Jamie R Newman and Mary Anne Cooper

Division of Gastroenterology, Sunnybrook and Women’s College Health Sciences Centre, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Received 11 February 2002; Accepted 9 July 2002

Copyright © 2002 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


OBJECTIVE: To compare the incidence and clinical characteristics of lower gastrointestinal (LGI) bleeding due to ischemic colitis with those with LGI bleeding of other causes.

METHODS: A chart review was performed of patients admitted with LGI bleeding to Sunnybrook and Women’s College Health Sciences Centre, Toronto, Ontario, between July 1, 1997 and January 31, 2000.

RESULTS: Of 124 patients with LGI bleeding, 24 cases were due to ischemic colitis, 62 to diverticulosis, 11 to inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and 27 to all other causes (‘others’). The average ages of patients in each group were 66.5, 76.5, 40.5 and 77.5 years, respectively. Patients with ischemic colitis were statistically younger than those with diverticular bleeding and ‘others’. Patients with IBD were younger than those in the other three groups. The only statistical difference for vascular disease risks was hypertension, because of its absence from the IBD group. Three patients with ischemic colitis underwent blood transfusions, while 23 with diverticulosis, 15 ‘others’ and none with IBD received blood. Three patients with ischemic colitis and one patient from the ‘others’ group died. More women (75) than men (49) had LGI bleeding - in total and within each subgroup. Of women with LGI bleeding, many more with ischemic colitis (44.4%) than with diverticulosis (3.0%), IBD (0%) or ‘others’ (5.6%) were taking estrogen.

CONCLUSIONS: Ischemic colitis was the second most common cause of LGI bleeding. LGI bleeding from all causes was more common in women than in men. Many more women in the ischemic colitis group than in the other groups were using estrogen therapy.