Urgent Multivisceral Transplantation for Widespread Splanchnic Ischemia

J Am Coll Surg. 2016 May;222(5):760-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jamcollsurg.2016.02.010. Epub 2016 Feb 26.


Background: Multivisceral transplantation (transplantation of the stomach, intestine, liver, and pancreas) is usually undertaken as a semi-elective procedure after thorough assessment in patients who have intestinal failure with cirrhosis, cirrhosis with portomesenteric venous thrombosis, or tumors such as desmoids involving the liver and mesentery.

Study design: Data were collected prospectively from the time of referral and held in a central database. We used it to report the first cases of urgent multivisceral transplantation (MVT) in patients with widespread splanchnic ischemia (occlusion of the celiac axis and superior mesenteric artery) resulting in small bowel infarction and hepatic failure.

Results: Three women (ages 33, 48, and 50 years) were referred to our center with superior mesenteric artery and celiac axis occlusion. All other modes of treatment had been considered and/or attempted. After transfer to our institution, all patients were assessed, urgently listed, and underwent transplantation in 10, 7, and 5 days. Two patients are still alive after 2 years and 1 died at 8 months from multiorgan failure due to infections and graft vs host disease.

Conclusions: Treatment options for patients presenting with widespread splanchnic ischemia with hepatic and intestinal failure/infarction were previously limited to salvage surgery and attempted revascularization. In situations in which these failed, the only previous option would have been palliation. In selected cases, we propose that urgent multivisceral transplantation should be considered as a life-saving treatment. This represents a previously unreported indication for MVT.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arterial Occlusive Diseases / complications
  • Arterial Occlusive Diseases / surgery*
  • Celiac Artery*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intestine, Small / blood supply
  • Intestine, Small / transplantation
  • Ischemia / surgery*
  • Liver Failure / surgery
  • Liver Transplantation
  • Mesenteric Artery, Superior*
  • Middle Aged
  • Organ Transplantation / methods*
  • Pancreas Transplantation
  • Splanchnic Circulation
  • Stomach / blood supply
  • Stomach / transplantation
  • Time Factors
  • Viscera / blood supply*