Modern treatment of acute mesenteric ischaemia

Br J Surg. 2014 Jan;101(1):e100-8. doi: 10.1002/bjs.9330. Epub 2013 Nov 20.


Background: Diagnosis of acute mesenteric ischaemia in the early stages is now possible with modern computed tomography (CT), using intravenous contrast enhancement and imaging in the arterial and/or portal venous phase. The availability of CT around the clock means that more patients with acute mesenteric ischaemia may be treated with urgent intestinal revascularization.

Methods: This was a review of modern treatment strategies for acute mesenteric ischaemia.

Results: Endovascular therapy has become an important alternative, especially in patients with acute thrombotic superior mesenteric artery (SMA) occlusion, where the occlusive lesion can be recanalized either antegradely from the femoral or brachial artery, or retrogradely from an exposed SMA after laparotomy, and stented. Aspiration embolectomy, thrombolysis and open surgical embolectomy, followed by on-table angiography, are the treatment options for embolic SMA occlusion. Endovascular therapy may be an option in the few patients with mesenteric venous thrombosis who do not respond to anticoagulation therapy. Laparotomy is needed to evaluate the extent and severity of visceral organ ischaemia, which is treated according to the principles of damage control surgery.

Conclusion: Modern treatment of acute mesenteric ischaemia involves a specialized approach that considers surgical and, increasingly, endovascular options for best outcomes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Embolectomy / methods
  • Embolism / diagnosis
  • Embolism / drug therapy
  • Embolism / surgery
  • Endovascular Procedures / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Ischemia / diagnosis
  • Ischemia / drug therapy
  • Ischemia / surgery*
  • Male
  • Mesenteric Artery, Superior
  • Mesenteric Ischemia
  • Mesenteric Vascular Occlusion / diagnosis
  • Mesenteric Vascular Occlusion / drug therapy
  • Mesenteric Vascular Occlusion / surgery
  • Mesenteric Veins
  • Middle Aged
  • Reperfusion / methods
  • Stents
  • Thrombolytic Therapy / methods
  • Thrombosis / diagnosis
  • Thrombosis / drug therapy
  • Thrombosis / surgery
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vascular Diseases / diagnosis
  • Vascular Diseases / drug therapy
  • Vascular Diseases / surgery*
  • Venous Thrombosis / diagnosis
  • Venous Thrombosis / drug therapy
  • Venous Thrombosis / surgery