How is ischemia treated?

Treatment of ischemia begins with seeking regular medical care throughout your life. Regular medical care allows a health care professional to provide early screening tests and to promptly evaluate symptoms and your risks for developing ischemia.

The goal of treating ischemia is to restore blood flow and prevent further damage. Surgery may be needed to remove dead tissue or repair injured areas. Once the initial event is managed, treatment turns to prevention of future ischemia.

Common treatments of acute or chronic ischemia

Common treatments to reduce ischemia and restore blood flow include:

  • Medications to control pain and dilate blood vessels
  • Medications to prevent ongoing clot formation
  • Medications to reduce the heart’s workload
  • Oxygen therapy
  • Procedures to expand blood vessels
  • Surgery or procedures to remove clots
  • Surgery to bypass blocked blood vessels
  • Thrombolytic drugs to dissolve clots

What are the potential complications of ischemia?

Complications of untreated ischemia can be serious, even life threatening in some cases. You can help minimize your risk of serious complications by following the treatment plan you and your health care professional design specifically for you. Complications of ischemia include:

  • Altered or decreased sensation
  • Amputation
  • Blindness
  • Bowel perforation or loss
  • Decreased cognitive function
  • Heart failure
  • Paralysis or weakness
  • Permanent disability


  1. Silent ischemia and ischemic heart disease. American Heart Association.
  2. Intestinal ischemia. American College of Gastroenterology.
  3. Collins RD. Differential Diagnosis in Primary Care, 5th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott, Williams & Williams, 2012.
  4. Bope ET, Kellerman RD (Eds.) Conn’s Current Therapy. Philadelphia: Saunders, 2013.

What is ischemia?

Ischemia is any reduction in blood flow resulting in decreased oxygen and nutrient supplies to a tissue. Ischemia may be reversible, in which case the affected tissue will recover if blood flow is restored, or it may be irreversible, resulting in tissue death. Ischemia can also be acute, due to a sudden reduction in blood flow, or chronic, due to slowly decreasing blood flow.

Isch... Read more about ischemiaintroduction


What are the symptoms of ischemia?

Although pain is a common, ischemia may occur without any symptoms. Generally, symptoms depend on the location of the ischemia.

Common symptoms of ischemia of the heart

Symptoms of cardiac ischemia include:

  • Chest pain or pressure, which may radiate to the back, arm, shoulder, neck, jaw or stomach
  • Limitations of physical abilities Read more about ischemiasymptoms


What causes ischemia?

Ischemia is caused by a decrease in blood supply to a tissue or organ. Blood flow can be blocked by a clot, an embolus, or constriction of an artery. It can occur due to gradual thickening of the artery wall and narrowing of the artery, as in atherosclerosis. Trauma can also disrupt blood flow.

What are the risk factors for ischemia?

A number of factors increase the... Read more about ischemiacauses

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Aug 23, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Heart, Blood and Circulation