Mesenteric arterial ischaemia: diagnosis and therapeutic options

Cleveland, TJ; Nawaz, S; Gaines, PA
November 2002
Vascular Medicine;2002, Vol. 7 Issue 4, p311
Academic Journal
Ischaemia of the bowel may arise from a number of causes affecting the arterial and venous compartments of the vascular tree. This article addresses the causes and consequences of arterial obstruction, which may compromise the supply of oxygenated blood to the bowel. These events may occur as an acute phenomenon, or they may present in a chronic fashion. The therapeutic options available to treat this condition are largely dependent on the mode of presentation and the amount of time that is available before irreversible damage occurs to the bowel integrity. In the acute phase, the viability of the bowel is in doubt, and this necessitates an open operative approach to assess the amount of bowel infarction which has already occurred. A variety of operative procedures are then available to limit this bowel loss and to secure the viability of the remaining bowel. In the more chronic phase there are alternative, less invasive procedures that may be appropriate for the patient, who may have suffered a prolonged period of undernourishment and dehydration. In such cases the immediate bowel viability is not in doubt, but the medium/long-term survival is compromised. Treatment options appropriate to each clinical scenario are discussed, along with the major technical issues associated with these treatments. A team approach to the most appropriate management plan is stressed, and the published outcomes reviewed.


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