Mesenteric vascular occlusion and intestinal obstruction are difficult-to-diagnose medical emergencies. We evaluated a large panel of biochemical markers as diagnostic and prognostic indicators in a rat model of intestinal infarction and partial, complete, and strangulated intestinal obstruction. After intestinal infarction and obstruction, laboratory data are distinctly abnormal. Serum urea nitrogen dramatically increased in all groups, but most rapidly in the groups with infarction and strangulated obstruction. Inorganic phosphorus proved to be a sensitive indicator of infarction, but less so for any form of obstruction. While all members in the infarct group demonstrated significant increases in the aminotransferases, creatine kinase, and alkaline phosphatase, such increases in the groups with obstruction were less pronounced. Serum maltase assays revealed decreasing activities in all members of the groups with complete and strangulated obstruction, but in only 17% of the rats with partial obstruction. Serum maltase activity increased from abnormally low values after surgery to abnormally high values in the six animals that recovered from partial intestinal obstruction. The proportion of hexosaminidase A (of total beta-N-acetylhexosaminidase, EC 22.214.171.124) was generally abnormal in rats with complete and strangulated obstruction.
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