Ten-year review of isolated spontaneous mesenteric arterial dissections

Courtney E. Morgan, Neel A. Mansukhani, Mark K. Eskandari, Heron E. Rodriguez*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Objective: Isolated spontaneous dissection of the superior mesenteric artery (SMA) and celiac artery (CA) remains a rare condition; however, it has been increasingly noted incidentally on diagnostic imaging. The purpose of this study was to examine the natural history and outcomes of patients presenting with isolated spontaneous mesenteric artery dissection (SMAD). We hypothesized that most SMADs can be treated nonoperatively. Methods: This was a single-center retrospective review of patients presenting with the diagnosis of SMAD between 2006 and 2016. Data analysis included demographics, clinical data, radiologic review, treatment, and outcomes. Results: A total of 77 patients were found to have CA dissection, SMA dissection, or both in the absence of aortic dissection diagnosed on computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging. The average age was 56 years (range, 26-86 years), 80% were male, and 10 patients (13%) had underlying connective tissue disorders. The majority, 64%, presented with symptoms including abdominal pain, back pain, and chest pain; the remaining 36% were asymptomatic. Combined SMA and CA dissection was found in 14 (18%) patients; 33 (43%) presented with isolated CA dissection, and 30 (39%) presented with isolated SMA dissection. Only four patients required intervention. Mesenteric bypass was performed in two patients, and SMA endarterectomy with patch angioplasty was performed in one patient for signs of bowel ischemia. No patient required bowel resection. The two bypasses were anastomosed to a branch of the SMA, and complete lumen restoration was seen on long-term imaging follow-up. One patient underwent stent grafting of the CA and hepatic artery for aneurysmal degeneration 1 month after diagnosis. The remaining 73 patients were managed nonoperatively; 40 (52%) were treated with a short course of anticoagulation, 23 (30%) were treated with antiplatelet therapy, and 10 (13%) were treated with observation alone. No other late interventions or recurrences were noted during a mean follow-up of 21 months. Conclusions: Whereas isolated SMAD poses a risk of visceral ischemia, most patients presenting with this diagnosis can be treated nonoperatively with a short course of antiplatelet or anticoagulant therapy. Only a small number of patients require surgical revascularization for bowel ischemia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1134-1142
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Vascular Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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