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Re: stomach pain elderly mom

Posted By HFHSM.D.-rf on October 20, 1998 at 16:29:59:

In Reply to: stomach pain elderly mom posted by maria on October 14, 1998 at 21:51:16:

For months now my mother has been suffering with intense stomach pain. They looked in her stomach, did barium tests, did ct scans, colonoscopies, and I imagine other tests that I am not familiar with. This has gone on now for about 3 months.  We were all happy when the doctor said she need to see a surgeon about her gall bladder.  We felt hope was on the way.  She underwent the gall bladder surgery 3 1/2 weeks ago and the doctor was quite please with the operation.. he commented "no wonder this poor woman was in so much pain" .  Well he may have been happy, but my mother is still in as much pain as before.  He told her they checked everything and she is now on a narcotic.  Where should we go from here?
Dear Maria,
There are two causes of abdominal pain that are often overlooked.  Mesenteric ischemia is a condition analogous  to cardiac ishemia.  The intestine does not get sufficient blood during its time of peak work i.e. during digestion.  Just like cardiac angina can evolve into a heart attack, mesenteric ischemia can evolve into infarction (death) of a large segment of intestine.  This is a critical condition madating early surgery.  The diagnosis of mesenteric ischemia can require an angiogram ( special x-ray in which dye is injected into the arteries).
The second cause frequently overlooked is gastroparesis, impaired contraction of the gastric muscle causing delayed emptying.  The pain in this condition tends not to be excruciating but is a relatively consistent ache.  A radioisotope study will diagnose this problem.
This information is presented for educational purposes only.  Always ask specific questions to your personal physician.
If you wish your mother to have a second opinion, we would be happy to see her in the Division of Gastroenterology of Henry Ford health System.  You can arrange an appoinment with Dr. Fogel, one of our experts in the diagnosis of abdominal pain, by calling our Physician Referral Line at (800)653-6568
*keywords: abdominal pain, mesenteric ischemia, gastroparesis
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