Mesenteric venous thrombosis

Timothy R.S. Harward, David Green, John J. Bergan*, Robert J. Rizzo, James S.T. Yao

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

169 Scopus citations


Sixteen patients with mesenteric venous thrombosis were reviewed retrospectively during a period from 1983 to 1987. Twelve patients had progressive abdominal pain, three had gastrointestinal bleeding, and one had general malaise. Seven of these 16 patients had previous deep-vein thrombosis. After negative routine gastrointestinal and hepatobiliary evaluation, 11 patients underwent an infusion computerized tomographic scan. Of these, 10 had superior mesenteric vein thrombosis; three of these 10 patients had portal vein thrombosis. Selective arteriography was done in two patients because of gastrointestinal bleeding, and a diagnosis of mesenteric vein thrombosis was made on the venous phase of the examination. The remaining four patients developed acute abdominal symptoms requiring surgical exploration, at which time mesenteric venous thrombosis was discovered. An identifiable coagulopathy was detected in nine patients (protein C deficiency in six, protein S deficiency in two, and factor IX deficiency treated with factor IX concentrate in one). No case of congenital antithrombin-III deficiency was identified. Six of these nine patients had a past history of deep venous thrombosis. Of five patients who underwent surgical exploration, all required bowel resection. In follow-up, two patients died of intestinal necrosis and a third died of associated pancreatic cancer. Thirteen patients were discharged from the hospital. Treatment of coagulopathy was by heparin in three patients and sodium warfarin (Coumadin) in four patients. Long-term anticoagulation was not instituted because of gastrointestinal bleeding in three and cirrhosis in three patients. Mesenteric venous thrombosis can occur without gangrenous bowel. Diagnosis should be suspected when acute abdominal symptoms develop in patients with prior thrombotic episodes and a coagulopathy. Infusion computerized tomographic scanning facilitates the diagnosis and treatment whereas anticoagulation allows preservation of bowel viability, especially if an associated coagulopathy exists.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)328-333
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Vascular Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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