Gastrointestinal Tract Emergency Causes

A gastrointestinal emergency can result from severe abdominal trauma that injures or damages a digestive organ. In addition to injury, GI emergencies also can result from the following:

  • Infection or inflammation in the digestive tract (e.g., appendicitis, cholecystitis, cholangitis, pancreatitis, peritonitis)
  • Ingestion of a foreign substance (e.g., poison) or object
  • Intestinal obstruction or compression (partial or complete blockage in the digestive tract; e.g., caused by an anatomical abnormality, tumor, stricture, or gallstones)
  • Perforation, rupture, or tear in a digestive organ (e.g., abdominal aneurysm, ulcer)
  • Prolapse of a digestive organ (e.g., rectal prolapse)
  • Postoperative evisceration (leakage of abdominal contents from a surgical wound [incision])
  • Severely reduced blood flow (ischemia) in the digestive tract

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 28 Feb 2008

Last Modified: 17 Sep 2015