Intestinal infarction is a medical emergency entailing an ischemic event of the bowel, due to a restriction or obstruction of the blood flow to the organ. It is not a common medical occurrence, but can profoundly endanger the life of an individual.
Intestinal infarction usually affects elderly individuals, with an average age of occurrence in the 6th-7th decade of life. Although symptomatology directs the physician towards a severe pathology, the symptoms elicited are not specific for intestinal infarction.
The predominant and profound symptom reported by the vast majority of the patients (94%) is that of intense and constant abdominal pain disproportionate in severity in comparison to the objective findings on a physical exam . Additional symptoms that complete the clinical picture also include nausea, episodes of diarrhea, tachycardia, and vomiting. In a more advanced stage, the ischemic occurrence leads to necrosis of the intestine, sepsis, and peritonitis; symptoms also include hypotension, a distended, painful abdomen, rigidity and guarding    . Progression of the ischemia is transmural .
A detailed medical history is certainly the first step towards reaching a diagnosis of intestinal infarction. Intense, persistent pain disproportionate in severity compared to the physical exam is the hallmark of the condition. Nausea, tachycardia, vomiting and diarrhea may complete the clinical picture; signs of peritoneal irritation may also be present if intestinal infarction has already been complicated by gangrenous peritonitis. Peritoneal signs also include abdominal rigidity, a positive rebound sign, hypotension, guarding and a considerable distention in the abdomen.
With regard to laboratory findings, most patients display the following, although recent studies have shown that none of them can be relied upon for a definitive diagnosis :
An extremely valuable tool for the definitive diagnosis of intestinal infarction is mesenteric angiography, due to its indisputable accuracy, efficacy and potential to increase the survival rate it is considered as a gold standard  . Currently, another imaging modality, computed tomography angiography (CTA) has effectively replaced mesenteric angiography in the diagnosis of intestinal infarction, as it is less invasive and has a specificity and sensitivity of 94% and 96% respectively  .