Lisa Marie Presley died of small bowel obstruction: Here is what it means


After the death of Lisa Marie Presley on January 12, headlines swept the headlines about cardiac arrest as a potential cause of her death. Now the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner delivered a sobering update: Presley died of a small bowel obstruction, which developed due to scar tissue that formed after undergoing bariatric surgery, a term that encompasses various types of weight loss procedures. (Presley’s family has not publicly commented on the autopsy results at the time of publication.)

The singer-songwriter, who was Elvis Presley’s only child and was 54 at the time of his death, experienced severe abdominal pain, according to the coroner’s report. She was found unconscious at her home and in cardiac arrest by her ex-husband, who called 911. Paramedics then took her to hospital, where she went into cardiac arrest again.

The report states that Presley had a « distended abdomen for years » and did not seek medical attention, although she also suffered from abdominal pain for several months before her death. The report also notes that Presley had serious metabolic acidosis, a buildup of acid in the blood due to kidney disease or failure. She also complained of fevers, nausea and vomiting for months before her death.

It’s understandable to have questions about what’s going on in the body during a bowel obstruction, as the condition can be caused by all sorts of things. Here’s what you need to know.

A bowel obstruction is not always fatal, but it can be.

A bowel obstruction occurs when food, liquids, or poo cannot move through your intestines. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). « It can occur in the large or small intestine, but it’s more common in the small intestine, » Mir Ali, MD, FACSbariatric surgeon and medical director of MemorialCare Surgical Weight Loss Center at Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, Calif., says SELF.

There are partial bowel obstructions, which means food, liquids, air or poop can still pass through the intestine, or complete bowel obstructions, in which the intestine is totally blocked, according to the NIDDK. . A complete obstruction can be life threatening and requires immediate medical attention. In this situation, the crucial blood supply is cut off, which causes the tissues of the intestinal walls to die. This can lead to a perforation in the intestines, which increases the risk of infection in the abdominal cavity (the area of ​​your body that supports the organs of your digestive system).

The most common causes of these blockages are abdominal adhesions (bands of scar tissue that form inside the abdomen), hernias (a bag formed by the lining of the intestines), certain cancers and certain drugs, the United States National Library of Medicine Remarks. People can even develop bowel obstruction due to severe constipation, says Dr. Ali. (The coroner’s report notes that Presley also « experienced problems with constipation for years. »)

There is a well-known link between bariatric surgery and bowel obstruction.

The coroner’s report says Presley developed adhesions after undergoing bariatric surgery « years ago, » and that those scars caused the small bowel to become blocked. « In bariatric surgery, bowel obstruction is a well-known complication », Vitaly Poylin, MDa Northwestern Medicine gastroenterologist, says SELF.

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