Acute mesenteric venous thrombosis: improved outcome with early diagnosis and prompt anticoagulation therapy.

Document Type



Surgery; Centre for Innovation in Medical Education


Aim: To analyze the clinical spectrum of acute mesenteric venous thrombosis (AMVT), to assess the factors affecting the outcome and to determine the optimal management of this disease.


We retrospectively reviewed the case records of 20 Patients with acute mesenteric venous thrombosis confirmed on CT imaging or on laparotomy over a 23 year period. Patients were divided into two groups according to the duration of symptoms: group I with symptoms for up to 3 days duration and group II with symptoms for more than 3 days.


The mean age was 50.55 year, with 15 male and five female Patients. In all Patients the diagnosis were confirmed on CT imaging preoperatively except two Patients when the diagnosis was established on exploratory laparotomy in the period before 1998. There were six Patients in group I and 14 in group II. Five Patients underwent an operation and one received a non-operative treatment in group I. Three Patients underwent laparotomy and 11 received non-operative treatment in group II (P-value 0.01, Fisher's exact test). There were three and one mortality in groups I (n=6) and II (n=14) respectively (P-value 0.061, Fisher's exact test). Most Patients received preoperative therapeutic anticoagulation. Two Patients in group II who underwent exploratory laparotomy, neither did receive preoperative anticoagulation. Both Patients died in the postoperative period. Eighteen Patients were investigated for thrombophilia. Eleven Patients had one (n=6) or more (n=5) identifiable hypercoagulable state, these included protein S deficiency (n=1), both protein C and S deficiency (n=5), polycythemia (n=2), factor V Leiden deficiency (n=1) and malignancy (n=2). None had antithrombin III deficiency, hyperhomocystine urea and contraceptive pill intake. There were no statistical differences between thrombophilic and non-thrombophilic Patients regarding duration of symptoms, indications for laparotomy and 30 days mortality rate. Conclusions: Patients with AMVT of rapid onset (duration) had poor outcome and more Patients required laparotomy because of extensive thrombosis leading to bowel gangrene and peritonitis. Early diagnosis with CT scanning, prompt treatment with anticoagulation in all Patients, surgical treatment in cases of peritonitis or failure of medical treatment can contain the mortality rate in these Patients.

Publication (Name of Journal)

International Journal of Surgery (London, England)