Abdominal vascular catastrophes are among the most challenging and time sensitive for emergency practitioners to recognize. Mesenteric ischemia remains a highly lethal entity for which the history and physical examination can be misleading. Laboratory tests are often unhelpful, and appropriate imaging must be quickly obtained. A multidisciplinary approach is required to have a positive impact on mortality rates. Ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm likewise may present in a cryptic fashion. A specific type of ruptured aneurysm, the aortoenteric fistula, often masquerades as the more common routine gastrointestinal bleed. The astute clinician recognizes that this is a more lethal variant of gastrointestinal hemorrhage.
Keywords: Aorto-enteric fistula; Gastrointestinal bleeding; Mesenteric ischemia; Ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm.
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