What Is Ischemia?

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By jolene
Reviewed
Reviewed: Dr. Gromatzky
Mar 19, 2020
Medical Expert Medical Expert

Ischemia is a term that describes restriction of blood supply to tissues resulting in inadequate oxygen required for cellular function and metabolism leading to potential tissue damage or death. Ischemia is generally due to issues with the blood vessels where there is some form of obstruction.

This also means that local ischemia can be caused by vasoconstriction, embolism, or thrombosis of the blood vessels. Not only does ischemia comprise of oxygen insufficiency, it also involves the decreased nutrients and elimination of metabolic wastes.

1. Causes

Ischemia is a condition where there is an interruption in the blood supply to the tissue that may result in tissue damage or death. Some causes include atherosclerosis, trauma, thrombosis, and embolism. Some vascular-related issues such as low flow states or outflow obstruction can also cause acute arterial ischemia. Occlusion may occur when there is a dislodged clot that travels and lodges in a smaller vessel leading to obstruction of both blood and oxygen to the distal tissues. When there is atherosclerosis, there is the accumulation of plaque, which is a sticky and hard substance made mostly of fat in the arteries. The buildup is slow and can cause narrowing in the arteries. In trauma, there may be occlusion of a vessel due to laceration, compression, or shearing.

Ischemia


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