Ischaemia facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts

Ischemia or ischaemia is a restriction in blood supply to tissues, causing a shortage of oxygen and glucose needed for cellular metabolism (to keep tissue alive). Ischemia is generally caused by problems with blood vessels, with resultant damage to or dysfunction of tissue. It also means local anemia in a given part of a body sometimes resulting from congestion (such as vasoconstriction, thrombosis or embolism). Ischemia comprises not only insufficiency of oxygen, but also reduced availability of nutrients and inadequate removal of metabolic wastes. Ischemia can be partial (poor perfusion) or total.

Signs and symptoms

Since oxygen is carried to tissues in the blood, insufficient blood supply causes tissue to become starved of oxygen. In the highly aerobic tissues of the heart and brain, irreversible damage to tissues can occur in as little as 3–4 minutes at body temperature. The kidneys are also quickly damaged by loss of blood flow (renal ischemia). Tissues with slower metabolic rates may undergo irreversible damage after 20 minutes.

Clinical manifestations of acute limb ischemia (which can be summarized as the "six P's") include pain, pallor, pulseless, paresthesia, paralysis, and poikilothermia. Without immediate intervention, ischemia may progress quickly to tissue necrosis and gangrene within a few hours. Early treatment is essential to keep the affected limb viable.


Ischaemia Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.