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September 1961

The Effect of Epidural Block upon Experimental Mesenteric Occlusion

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Surgery, Washington University School of Medicine, and Barnes Hospital.

Arch Surg. 1961;83(3):409-413. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1961.01300150083010

The treatment of superior mesenteric arterial occlusion remains a difficult surgical problem. Resection of the necrotic intestine and reconstitution of the flow of blood to still viable intestine by thrombectomy or arterial grafting are the primary surgical approaches to the problem. The treatment of shock, the restitution of fluid balance, and the parenteral and enteral administration of antimicrobials are the important parts of ancillary therapeusis. Anesthetic blockade of the intestinal sympathetic nerves has been utilized in the Soviet Union and by a few authors1,2 in this country as an additional therapeutic step.

Theoretically, such blockade might be effective by eliminating or reducing the vasoconstriction of the blood vessels to the small intestine, which occurs concomitant with mesenteric arterial occlusion.

The effect of continuous epidural anesthetic blockade of the abdominal sympathetics upon acute obstruction of the superior mesenteric artery has been tested in dogs.

Methods  After the induction of general