In medicine, ischemia (Greek ισχαιμία, isch- is restriction, hema or haema is blood) is a restriction in blood supply, generally due to factors in the blood vessels, with resultant damage or dysfunction of tissue.
Rather than in hypoxia, a more general term denoting a shortage of oxygen, ischemia is an absolute or relative shortage of the blood supply to an organ. Relative shortage means the mismatch of blood supply (oxygen delivery) and blood request for adequate oxygenation of tissue.
This can be due to:
As the carrier of oxygen (oxygen is mainly bound to hemoglobin) insufficient blood supply leads to hypoxic tissue (anoxic in case of no oxygen supply at all) with the consequence of necrosis which determines the celldeath.
Ischemia is a feature of heart diseases, transient ischemic attacks, cerebrovascular accidents, and peripheral artery occlusive disease.
Last updated: 05-13-2005 07:56:04