MI: Not a Heart Attack but a Gut Attack

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Abstract

Mesenteric ischemia and infarction are infrequent but often deadly conditions in acute and critically ill patients. Mesenteric ischemia may be a primary admission diagnosis or may develop secondary to another diagnosis. Having a high index of suspicion for patients at risk of mesenteric ischemia and mesenteric infarction can alter a poor outcome. This article reviews the pathophysiology, risk factors, assessment, medical and nursing diagnoses, as well as collaborative management for mesenteric ischemia. Early identification of patients at risk and the appropriate diagnostic testing are stressed. Nurses armed with the knowledge of this condition are better able to provide safe care to their patients.

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