Acute inflammation

by Jason Wasserman MD PhD FRCPC
September 20, 2022

What does acute inflammation mean?

Acute inflammation is the body’s first defense response to injury or disease. The response is led by immune cells such as neutrophils and eosinophils. Acute inflammation can be associated with infections, traumatic injury, autoimmune disease (such as rheumatoid arthritis), or cancer.

Although acute inflammation is an important part of the body’s defense system, a prolonged response can cause injury to the tissue involved. These kinds of changes are commonly seen in the skin, mouth, and gastrointestinal tract (esophagus, stomach, small bowel, and colon).

Your doctor may remove a small piece of tissue in a procedure called a biopsy and send it to a pathologist to look for acute inflammation. By examining the tissue under a microscope, your pathologist will also be able to rule out other conditions that can look like inflammation, such as cancer.

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