Small intestine - Wikipedia
The small intestine (small bowel) lies between the stomach and the large intestine (large bowel) and includes View Media Gallery. The small intestine is differentiated from the large intestine by the presence of a mesentery. The small intestine or small bowel is the part of the gastrointestinal tract between the stomach The ileum joins to the cecum of the large intestine at the ileocecal junction. These two arteries both have anterior and posterior branches that meet in the midline . Wikimedia Commons has media related to Small intestine. In addition, called the small and large bowel, or colloquially the “guts,” they . on the way, taking around 90 to minutes to finally reach the end of the ileum.
Many infected persons are unaware of being ill, since their disease remains asymptomatic or quite mild.
Meet the gastrointestinal tract!
The incubation period of HAV infections, from viral ingestion to the onset of symptoms, averages four to five weeks. Acute illness in an otherwise healthy pregnant woman does not appear to have adverse effects upon the fetus.
Persons can become passively immunized against HAV for several months with either the hepatitis A vaccine or a single injection of immunoglobulin. Persons can be actively immunized to HAV by acquiring the virus subsequent to becoming passively immunized, but such infections are either inapparent or very mild.
Hepatitis B virus is present throughout the world in asymptomatic human carriers who may or may not have ongoing liver disease. Formerly, the disease was widely spread by the transfusion of whole blood or blood products, such as the cryoprecipitate used in the treatment of hemophilia. Since the signs of infection have become so readily identifiable, this mode of transmission is much less common, comprising only about 10 percent of cases, compared with 60 percent in the past.
Virus particles in carriers are found in bodily secretions, especially saliva and sexual emissions, as well as in blood. The incidence of B antigens is high among persons engaging in promiscuous sexual activity, drug addicts who share syringes, health care workers, and infants of mothers who are carriers.
Many newly infected persons develop the acute disease within three weeks to six months after exposure, while some develop an asymptomatic form of hepatitis that may appear only as chronic disease years later. Others eliminate the virus completely without any symptoms beyond the appearance of antibodies to surface antigen, while still others become carriers of surface antigen and thus presumably are infective to others.
There are two methods of preventing hepatitis B: The first method is used following specific exposures that carry a high risk of infection, such as using needles contaminated with HBV particles, the ingestion of body secretions likely to be infected, or the birth of an infant to a surface-antigen-positive mother. The second method, active immunization, is used for those who belong to groups with a high risk of HBV infection, such as children living in endemic areas, medical personnel in high-risk specialties, drug addicts, sexually promiscuous persons, and family groups living close to known carriers.
Active immunization, involving a series of three injections of vaccine over a period of three to six months, has been shown to confer a high degree of resistance to infection. Hepatitis C appears to be transmitted in a manner similar to HBV transmission. The incidence for HCV is high among persons engaging in promiscuous sexual activity, intravenous drug users, homosexual males, children living in endemic areas, infants born to infected mothers, health care workers, and hemodialysis patients.
The average incubation period of the disease is about seven weeks, and an acute attack of hepatitis C is usually less severe than acute hepatitis B. Hepatitis C, however, is more likely to become chronic than is hepatitis B, and it may recur episodically with acute flares.
The two approved treatments for hepatitis C are alpha interferon and ribavirin; only about half of those receiving the drugs respond to them. Patients often complain of a flulike illness for several days, with chills, feverheadachecoughnauseaoccasional diarrheaand malaise. Abdominal pain caused by swelling of the liver is a common complaint. As many as half of the infected patients develop only mild symptoms or none at all.
A small percentage of patients, especially those with HBV infections, may develop hivespainful skin nodules, acute arthritisor urinary bleeding caused by the deposition of large immune antigen-antibody complexes in the small blood vessels of adjacent organs.
After several days of such symptoms, jaundice commonly develops. At times the jaundice is so mild that it is not noticed by patients, although they often do note that the urine has become dark amber in colour because of the high levels of water-soluble bilirubin transmitted to the kidneys by the bloodstream.
The onset of jaundice usually brings with it a marked improvement in other symptoms. Jaundice lasts about two weeks but may continue for several months, even in those who have complete recovery. Some patients complain of itching during this period, and they notice the light colour of their stools. These symptoms probably result from the compression of bile canaliculi and intralobular bile ducts by the swelling of hepatocytes and Kupffer cells.
The changes result in the reduced secretion of bile pigments into the biliary system, their reflux into the bloodstream, and the deposition of bile salts and other biliary constituents in the skin and subcutaneous tissues, a condition called obstructive jaundice. After the phase of jaundice subsides, almost all patients with hepatitis A, and at least 90 percent of those with hepatitis B, recover completely.
Aside from jaundice, the physical examination of patients with acute viral hepatitis may reveal nothing more than a detectable enlargement and, at times, tenderness of the liver. Some also show an enlarged spleen.
Signs of confusion or disorientation indicate severe damage to the liver. The diagnosis of hepatitis is confirmed by blood tests that show marked elevations of enzymes aminotransferases released from damaged liver cells and by the presence of viral antigens or acute viral antibodies IgM.
A small number, perhaps 1 percent, of patients with viral hepatitis, especially the elderly, develop a sudden, severe fulminant form of hepatic necrosis that can lead to death. In this form of the disease jaundice increases to high levels during the first 7 to 10 days, spontaneous bleeding occurs because of reductions of blood-clotting proteins, and irrational behaviour, confusion, or coma follow, caused by the accumulation in the central nervous system of the breakdown products of protein normally metabolized by the liver.
Beyond supportive measures there is no effective treatment of fulminant hepatic failure except liver transplantation. Acute hepatitis also may be caused by the overconsumption of alcohol or other poisons, such as commercial solvents e.
Such agents are believed to cause hepatitis when the formation of their toxic intermediate metabolites in the liver cell is beyond the capacity of the hepatocyte to conjugate, or join them with another substance for detoxification and excretion.
Acute canalicular cholestatic hepatitis Acute canalicular cholestatic hepatitis is most commonly caused by certain drugs, such as psychopharmacologics, antibiotics, and anabolic steroids or, at times, by hepatitis viruses.
The symptoms are generally those of biliary obstruction and include itching, jaundice, and light-coloured stools. Drug-induced cholestasis almost invariably disappears within days or weeks after exposure to the agent is discontinued. Acute congestive liver disease usually results from the sudden engorgement of the liver by fluids after congestive heart failure.
The liver may enlarge and become tender. The levels of hepatocytic enzymes in the blood are often greatly increased, and recovery is rapid once the heart failure improves. Jaundice is uncommon in acute hepatic congestion. Chronic active hepatitis Chronic hepatitis is the result of unresolved acute injury and is associated with ongoing liver damage. The course of the disease is usually slow but relentlessly progressive.
A milder form of chronic disease, called persistent hepatitis, does not appear to lead to progressive liver damage despite evidence of a continuing mild inflammation. These conditions may result from viral hepatitis, drug-induced hepatitis, autoimmune liver diseases lupoid hepatitisor congenital abnormalities.
A prominent autoimmune liver disease is Wilson diseasewhich is caused by abnormal deposits of large amounts of copper in the liver.
Anatomic Problems of the Lower GI Tract
Granulomatous hepatitis, a condition in which localized areas of inflammation granulomas appear in a portion of the liver lobule, is a type of inflammatory disorder associated with many systemic diseases, including tuberculosissarcoidosisschistosomiasisand certain drug reactions. Granulomatous hepatitis rarely leads to serious interference with hepatic function, although it is often chronic. Chronic viral hepatitis B and C can be treated with interferon.
Cirrhosis of the liver, and occasionally liver cancerusually result from a gradual loss of liver function. Chronic hepatitis that is the result of autoimmune disorders usually responds to the administration of immunosuppressive medications and adrenal corticosteroids, which moderate the inflammatory reaction. Cirrhosis The end result of many forms of chronic liver injury is cirrhosisor scarring of liver tissue in response to previous acinar necrosis and irregular regeneration of liver nodules and bile ducts.
Among the congenital disorders producing cirrhosis are Wilson disease, hemochromatosis over-deposition of iron pigmentcystic fibrosisbiliary atresia congenital absence of a part of the bile ductsand alpha1-antitrypsin deficiency, or the congenital absence of a proteolytic enzyme inhibitor that results in the accumulation of abnormal forms of carbohydrate in hepatocytes.
In the Western world, cirrhosis of the liver most commonly results from chronic heavy intake of alcohol. Chronic viral hepatitis is probably the leading cause of cirrhosis in underdeveloped countries. Primary biliary cirrhosis, a geographically widespread, though uncommon, autoimmune inflammatory disease of bile ducts, is a disorder primarily affecting middle-aged and older women. The inflammation leads to necrosis and gradual disappearance of bile ducts over a period of one or more decades.
Secondary biliary cirrhosis results from chronic obstruction or recurrent infection in the extrahepatic bile ducts caused by strictures, gallstonesor tumours. Infestation of the biliary tract with a liver flukeClonorchis sinensis, is a cause of secondary biliary cirrhosis in Asia. Cirrhosis occasionally is the result of chronic vascular congestion of the liver in persons with prolonged heart failure and in those with chronic obstruction of the hepatic veins caused by benign blood clots or metastatic cancer.
Symptoms of cirrhosis are usually absent during the early stages of the disease. Occasionally, cirrhosis is detected during a physical examination when an enlargement of the liver, spleenor veins in the upper abdominal wall is found. More often, patients develop symptoms related either to the failure of the liver to perform its functions or to complications caused by the circulatory changes that a cirrhotic liver imposes on the venous blood flow from the intestinal tract portal hypertension.
Thus, common symptoms of cirrhosis include jaundiceresulting from reduced passage of conjugated bilirubin into the biliary tract; increased bleeding, from sequestration of blood platelets in a congested spleen; or deficient production of short-lived coagulation proteins by the liver. There may be certain changes in the skin, such as the appearance of small spiderlike vascular lesions on the hands, arms, or face, a marked reddening of portions of the palms, or enlargement of the breast in females or reduction in testicular size in males.
The gradual accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity ascitessometimes accompanied by swelling of the ankles, is attributable to portal hypertension and to reduced hepatic production of albumin, while failure of the liver to metabolize amino acids and other products of protein digestion may lead to the state of confusion called hepatic encephalopathy.
Loss of appetite, reduction of muscle mass, nauseavomitingabdominal pain, and weakness are other symptoms of hepatic cirrhosis. Diabetes in a patient with cirrhosis is frequently caused by hemochromatosis excessive deposition of iron in tissues, especially in the liver and pancreassince iron deposits compromise the production of insulin by the islets of Langerhans in the pancreas.
Severe spastic disorders of the muscles in the limbs, head, and face suggest the presence of Wilson diseaseespecially if there is a family history, since the copper deposits characteristic of that disorder are toxic to the liver and to structures in the base of the brain.
Small-Intestine Tumors That Are Noncancerous - Digestive Disorders - Merck Manuals Consumer Version
A history of chronic lung infections or of progressive obstructive lung disease may be present in patients with cystic fibrosis or a deficiency of alpha1-antitrypsin.
A diagnosis of cirrhosis is confirmed by blood tests that show an elevated concentration of hepatocytic enzymes, reduced levels of coagulation proteins, elevated levels of bilirubin, and, most important, reduced amounts of serum albumin a major protein of human blood plasma and increases in serum globulin a specific group of proteins found in blood plasma and including immunoglobulins.
Although other tests may also be abnormal in patients with acute liver disease, serum albumin levels are usually not reduced in the acute stage of the disease because that protein is rather long-lived up to one month and levels do not decrease until the liver disease becomes chronic. Elevated levels of serum iron or copper support a diagnosis of hemochromatosis or Wilson disease, respectively, while a positive test for serum antibodies to cellular mitochondria is associated almost solely with primary biliary cirrhosis.
The presence of HBV surface antigen or of delta agent suggests viral cirrhosis. A biopsy of the liver is the most valuable diagnostic test, since this procedure makes available an actual specimen of liver tissue for microscopic examination. Treatment of cirrhosis of the liver never results in a completely normal organ, since the process of scarring and nodular regeneration is permanent.
The process itself, however, can be prevented or its progress halted by managing the precipitating factors of the disease. Complications of advanced liver disease Hepatic encephalopathy Hepatic encephalopathy refers to changes in the brain that occur in patients with advanced acute or chronic liver disease. If liver cells are damaged, certain substances that are normally cleansed from the blood by the healthy liver are not removed.
These products of cell metabolism are primarily nitrogenous substances derived from protein, especially ammonia, or possibly certain short-chain fatty acids. They pass to the brain where they damage functioning nervous tissue or subvert the actions of neurotransmitters, chemical messengers that carry impulses from one brain cell to another.
In acute cases, the brain becomes swollen to the point where normal breathing may cease.
Chronic exposure can lead to destruction of nerve cells with replacement by scar tissue gliosis. A patient with chronic hepatic encephalopathy may develop progressive loss of memory, disorientation, and muscular tremors, leading to a form of chronic dementia. The ingestion of protein invariably aggravates these symptoms. Patients with gastrointestinal bleeding, infection, kidney failureand constipation and those who are taking certain medications are all at risk of worsened episodes of hepatic encephalopathy.
The treatment of hepatic encephalopathy involves, first, the removal of all drugs that require detoxification in the liver and, second, the reduction of protein intake.
Ammonia is a potentially harmful by-product of digestion, and its concentration in the blood can be lowered either through the reduction of intestinal bacteria by administration of enteric antibiotics, which reduce the production of ammonia in the colon or by administration of lactulose, a nonabsorbable carbohydrate whose by-products make the contents of the colon more acidic, creating an environment that reduces the diffusion of ammonia from the intestinal lumen to the portal blood vessels.
Portal hypertension Portal hypertension is the increased pressure in the portal vein and its tributaries. It is the result of impediments to venous flow into the liver, and is brought about by the scarring characteristic of the cirrhotic process. The increased pressure causes feeders of the portal vein to distend markedly, producing varices, or dilations of the veins.
When varices are located in superficial tissues, they may rupture and bleed profusely. Varices most commonly occur in the lower esophagusthe stomachand the perianal region. Esophageal varices are likely to bleed most heavily, and, because of the reduced blood flow in the liver that results and the large amount of protein contained in the blood that is shed into the intestines, profuse bleeding from esophageal varices is frequently associated with the onset of hepatic encephalopathy or coma.
Because of their location at the lower end of the esophagus or the upper portion of the stomach, bleeding from varices is often difficult to control. Bleeding may stop spontaneously, but it is likely to recur. Considerable success in stemming such hemorrhage and preventing its recurrence has been achieved by using rubber bands to block the blood supply to each varix or by the injection of sclerosing hardening agents into varices during endoscopic visualization.
If variceal bleeding persists and if the patient can withstand a long and complex operative procedure, surgical formation of a shunt, or artificial passageway, from the portal vein or one of its feeders to a systemic abdominal vein, such as the vena cava or the left renal vein, or from the hepatic vein to the portal vein may be performed.
Ascites The accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavityor ascites, is related to portal hypertension, significant reduction in serum albumin, and renal retention of sodium. When albumin levels in the blood are lower than normal, there is a marked reduction in the force that holds plasma water within the blood vessels and normally resists the effects of the intravascular pressure.
The resulting increase in intravascular pressure, coupled with the increased internal pressure caused by the portal venous obstruction in the liver, leads to massive losses of plasma water into the abdominal cavity. The associated reduction of blood flow to the kidneys causes increased elaboration of the hormone aldosteronewhich, in turn, causes the retention of sodium and water and a reduction in urinary output.
In addition, because the movement of intestinal lymph into the liver is blocked by the cirrhotic process in the liver, the backflow of this fluid into the abdominal cavity is greatly increased.
The volume of abdominal ascites in adults with cirrhosis may reach levels as great as 10 to 12 litres 11 to 13 quarts. Ascitic fluid may accumulate in the scrotum and in the chest cavitywhere its presence, combined with the upward pressure on the diaphragm from the abdominal fluid, may severely affect breathing. Appetite also is often reduced by the abdominal distention.
The treatment of cirrhotic ascites begins with the removal of enough fluid directly from the abdomen by needle puncture to ease discomfort and breathing. Patients are placed on diets low in salt sodium chlorideand they are given diuretic drugs to increase the output of water by the kidneys. If these measures do not control massive ascites, ascites can be drained internally into the general venous blood system by running a plastic tube from the abdominal cavity, under the skin of the chest, into the right internal jugular vein of the neck peritoneovenous shunt of LeVeen or from the hepatic vein to the portal vein.
Hepatorenal syndrome Hepatorenal syndrome, a progressive reduction in kidney function that often occurs in persons with advanced acute or chronic liver disease, probably results from an inadequate flow of blood through the cortical outer portions of the kidneys, where most removal of waste products occurs. In some instances, hepatorenal syndrome is caused by marked reductions in blood volume that result from a low concentration of water in the blood.
Colon and Rectum | Organs | MUSC Digestive Disease Center
Hemorrhages also can reduce kidney function by leading to damage of renal tubules. Finally, with advanced hepatocytic dysfunction, a spasm of blood vessels in the renal cortex can occur, which results in progressive failure in kidney function and often leads to death.
The kidneys themselves are frequently undamaged structurally. Treatment of patients with volume depletion and tubular damage often may lead to significant improvement in kidney function.
Dialysis may improve symptoms. Tumours Liver cancerusually in hepatocytes and less frequently in cells of bile duct origin, is rare in the Western world and is almost always associated with active cirrhosis, particularly the form found in patients with chronic hepatitis. The survival rate from liver cancer is low. In certain underdeveloped countriesespecially in Africa, the incidence of this malignancy is high and is a major cause of death in the population.
Most of these cases appear to stem from the prevalence of chronic viral hepatitis or the chronic presence of viruses in the blood viremia caused by hepatitis B. Long exposure to certain environmental poisons, such as vinyl chloride or carbon tetrachloridehas also been shown to lead to hepatic cancer. Cancers arising elsewhere in the body, particularly in abdominal organs, lungs, and lymphoid tissuecommonly lead to metastatic cancer in the liver and are by far the most frequent type of hepatic malignancy.
Usually, when such metastases are found, the primary tumour has advanced beyond the stage where it can be removed surgically. Various benign types of tumours and cysts arise from certain components of the liver, such as the hepatocytes adenomas or blood vessels hemangiomas. While the cause of these lesions is not always clear, hepatic adenomas are associated with the prolonged use of female sex hormones estrogens.
Symptoms of benign tumours depend mainly on their size and their position in relation to the surface of the liver. If they enlarge significantly, patients may experience pain or sensations of heaviness in the upper abdomen. When benign tumours are located close to the surface of the liver, they may rupture through the capsule and bleed freely into the abdominal cavity.
Surgery is then required. Other carbohydrates pass undigested into the large intestine and further handling by intestinal bacteria. Brush border enzymes take over from there. The most important brush border enzymes are dextrinase and glucoamylase, which further break down oligosaccharides.
Other brush border enzymes are maltase, sucrase and lactase. Lactase is absent in some adult humans and, for them, lactose a disaccharideas well as most polysaccharides, is not digested in the small intestine. Some carbohydrates, such as celluloseare not digested at all, despite being made of multiple glucose units. This is because the cellulose is made out of beta-glucose, making the inter-monosaccharidal bindings different from the ones present in starch, which consists of alpha-glucose.
Humans lack the enzyme for splitting the beta-glucose-bonds, something reserved for herbivores and bacteria from the large intestine. Absorption[ edit ] Digested food is now able to pass into the blood vessels in the wall of the intestine through either diffusion or active transport. The small intestine is the site where most of the nutrients from ingested food are absorbed.
The inner wall, or mucosa, of the small intestine is lined with simple columnar epithelial tissue. Structurally, the mucosa is covered in wrinkles or folds called plicae circulareswhich are considered permanent features in the wall of the organ. They are distinct from rugae which are considered non-permanent or temporary allowing for distention and contraction. From the plicae circulares project microscopic finger-like pieces of tissue called villi Latin for "shaggy hair".
The individual epithelial cells also have finger-like projections known as microvilli. The functions of the plicae circulares, the villi, and the microvilli are to increase the amount of surface area available for the absorption of nutrientsand to limit the loss of said nutrients to intestinal fauna. Each villus has a network of capillaries and fine lymphatic vessels called lacteals close to its surface.
The epithelial cells of the villi transport nutrients from the lumen of the intestine into these capillaries amino acids and carbohydrates and lacteals lipids. The absorbed substances are transported via the blood vessels to different organs of the body where they are used to build complex substances such as the proteins required by our body. The material that remains undigested and unabsorbed passes into the large intestine.
Absorption of the majority of nutrients takes place in the jejunumwith the following notable exceptions: Iron is absorbed in the duodenum. Folate Vitamin B9 is absorbed in the duodenum and jejunum. Vitamin B12 and bile salts are absorbed in the terminal ileum.