The changing face of mesenteric infarction

Tamara S. Newman, Thomas H. Magnuson, Steven A. Ahrendt, Melissa A. Smith-Meek, Jeffrey S. Bender

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60 Scopus citations


Intestinal infarction remains a devastating event despite improvements in clinical recognition as well as diagnostic and therapeutic modalities. Recent changes in the etiology of this disease have not been examined. A retrospective review of 121 consecutive patients over a 6-year period was undertaken. Twenty-three patients died without operation, and mortality in the remaining 98 patients was 50 per cent. The only significant predictor of mortality was an elevated serum lactate at the time of diagnosis. Thirty-one patients (26%) developed infarction while hospitalized for another disease process; excluding patients with obstruction as the etiology of infarction caused this number to rise to 39 per cent. Nonocclusive mesenteric infarction was the most common disease process. The increased incidence of nonocclusive mesenteric infarction is likely due to the development of intestinal ischemia in already systemically ill patients. Nearly half of all cases of intestinal infarction due to nonobstructive causes develop in already hospitalized patients. The development of unexplained acidosis in a postoperative or critically ill patient should prompt a search for a reversible cause of mesenteric ischemia. Intestinal infarction may represent another example of the multisystem organ failure syndrome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)611-616
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Surgeon
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 8 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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