Ogilvie syndrome is when there is a decreased ability in the intestines to push food through, therefore causing dilation in the colon hence preventing normal function and transit of products digesting properly.
Typically you will find that this occurs to severely ill patients, typically after surgeries. Ogilvie syndrome is characterized by a massive dilation of the cecum. The cecum is the pouch that connects the ileum with the ascending colon of the large intestines.
Ogilvie syndrome was first discovered by British surgeon Sir William Ogilvie. He first reported this syndrome in 1948. Ogilvie became extremely concerned with colon surgeries based upon the high mortality rate that they had with them.
He was a surgeon throughout the Balkan war, during both World Wars and therefore took a special interest in intestinal cases and war surgeries. Since he saw such a high mortality rate with intestinal cases, he decided to focus much of his energy on trying to relieve the intestines in colon injuries.
As I stated earlier, Ogilvie syndrome will typically occur after surgery and in most cases those who have just underwent a coronary artery bypass surgery and/or a total joint replacement surgery, seem highly susceptible to Ogilvie syndrome occurring.
Doctors have also found that with neurological disorders, infections, cardiorespiratory inefficiencies as well as metabolic disturbances, there is a high likely hood of Ogilvie syndrome. You will find that drugs that disturb the colon will also contribute to this condition occurring.
Doctors are not quite sure why Ogilvie syndrome occurs and they still have not figured out the reason behind the acute colonic obstructions that will occur. The only explanation that doctors have been able to agree on is that they can contribute some of the problem to an imbalance of the regulation in the colon motor activity due to the autonomic nervous system.
Essentially the autonomic nervous system controls the functioning of the body while a person is under anesthetics. The autonomic nervous system will regulate the heart, digestion, the respiratory rate, salivation, perspiration and much more. Therefore, what doctors are finding is that something must go array while the person is under.
When the patients colon starts to dilate, doctors will refer to it as acute megacolon. Typically what you see happen is that because of abnormal intestinal motility, the colon will begin to dilate. The dilation will happen because the food will not be able to be passed through properly therefore being stuck in the colon and essentially making it dilate.
The longer that a patients colon is dilated the greater the odds that it leads to ischemic necrosis. Ischemic necrosis is where the bowel will begin to die within the segmented colon due to the pressure and tension that is building in the dilated structure.
There are some signs and symptoms that will lead up to Ogilvie syndrome. Typically a patient will complain about pain and altered bowel movements, nausea, vomiting as well as abdominal distention.
Abdominal distension is when a person is having problems with excessive belching, nausea, excessive gas, feeling bloated or simply uncomfortable and full. Some patients will experience mild cramping that may occur as well.
When a doctor diagnosis Ogilvie syndrome they will typically try to stop it by stopping oral ingestion. They will take away all oral food and fluids from a patient, ensuring that nothing goes through the mouth. A doctor will order a feeding tube, so that a patient can receive all the nutrition that they need without having to orally digest it.
Sometimes the feeding tube is not enough and a doctor will need to order a colonscopic decompression, which has a success rate of seventy percent among patients with Ogilvie syndrome. A colonscopic decompression is when the doctor will use a fiber optic camera to look through a persons colon and small bowel to see where the blockage is, how big and what he or she can do to improve it.
Ogilvie syndrome is a serious medical condition and the mortality rate of this syndrome is thirty percent. However the high mortality rate is more then likely due to the fact that many patients that contract this syndrome are already in critical condition due to their conditions.
Therefore, Ogilvie syndrome itself is less lethal then the conditions that will create it and cause complication that will lead to death. You will find that in some patients who contract Ogilvie syndrome it will be due to the fact that they induced it through drug use of some kind.
Typically drugs such as neurotransmitter blockers and pain killers will be associated with causes of Ogilvie syndrome. Through the use of these drugs the mortality rate can be as high as twenty seven percent.