GI Tract Emergencies Overview

The gastrointestinal tract also is called the GI tract or digestive system. The GI tract is involved in the process of digestion, which is the physical and chemical break down of food into a form that can be absorbed and used by the body. Gastrointestinal emergencies are serious conditions that often develop suddenly and require prompt diagnosis and immediate treatment.

GI emergencies can develop throughout the digestive system, which includes the following organs:

  • Mouth
  • Esophagus (hollow, muscular organ that carries food and liquids from the throat to the stomach)
  • Stomach
  • Small intestine (also called the small bowel)
  • Large intestine (also called the large bowel or colon)

The digestive tract also includes the biliary system (i.e., the liver, pancreas, gallbladder, and bile ducts). The organs of the biliary system produce, store, and secrete substances that aid in digestion (e.g., bile). GI emergencies also can affect the organs of the biliary system.

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

Published: 28 Feb 2008

Last Modified: 17 Sep 2015