June 1997

Current Results of Surgical Therapy for Chronic Mesenteric Ischemia

Author Affiliations

From the Section of Vascular Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of Chicago, Chicago, Ill.

Arch Surg. 1997;132(6):613-619. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1997.01430300055012

Background:  Although recognition of chronic mesenteric ischemia has increased in recent years, this disorder has continued to present diagnostic and therapeutic challenges.

Objective:  To examine the modern results of surgical revascularization for chronic mesenteric ischemia.

Design:  Retrospective review.

Setting:  University medical center.

Patients:  The management of 24 consecutive patients (mean±SEM age, 58±3 years; 5 men, 19 women) who were undergoing surgical treatment of chronic mesenteric ischemia between 1986 and 1996 was reviewed.

Intervention:  Surgical mesenteric revascularization.

Main Outcome Measures:  Postoperative course, long-term graft patency rate, and long-term symptom-free survival rate.

Results:  The most frequent presenting symptoms were postprandial abdominal pain (18 patients [75%]) and weight loss (14 patients [58%]). Less specific complaints included nausea and vomiting (8 patients [33%]), diarrhea (7 patients [29%]), and constipation (4 patients [17%]). Atherosclerotic risk factors were common, including tobacco use (20 patients [83%]), coronary artery disease (10 patients [42%]), and hypertension (10 patients [42%]). The cause was identified as atherosclerosis in 21 patients, median arcuate ligament compression in 2 patients who were monozygotic twins, and Takayasu arteritis in 1 patient. Lesions were localized to all 3 major visceral vessels (celiac artery, superior mesenteric artery [SMA], and inferior mesenteric artery) in 8 patients, celiac artery and SMA in 13, SMA alone in 2, and SMA and inferior mesenteric artery in 1. Seventeen patients underwent antegrade reconstructions from the supraceliac aorta to the SMA and/or celiac artery; 7 patients underwent revascularization by use of a retrograde bypass that originated from the infrarenal aorta or a prosthetic graft. There were no perioperative deaths although 1 patient died in the hospital 6 weeks after early graft failure and sepsis (overall in-hospital mortality, 4%). Follow-up ranged from 3 months to 10 years (median, 2.4years). The mean±SEM 5-year primary graft patency rate, as objectively documented by use of contrast angiography or duplex scanning in 19 of 24 patients, was 78%±11%. Primary failure was documented in 3 patients (at 3 weeks, 5 months, and 7 months). Two patients required a thrombectomy; 1 of these patients subsequently died of an intestinal infarction. The mean±SEM 5-year survival rate by use of life-table analysis was 71%±11%. No patient with a patent graft experienced a symptomatic recurrence.

Conclusions:  Chronic mesenteric ischemia is usually a manifestation of advanced systemic atherosclerosis. Symptoms almost always reflect midgut ischemia in the distribution of the SMA. An antegrade bypass from the supraceliac aorta can be performed with acceptable operative morbidity and is currently the preferred reconstructive technique. Surgical revascularization affords long-term symptom-free survival in a majority of patients with chronic mesenteric ischemia.Arch Surg. 1997;132:613-619