Retrograde mesenteric stenting during laparotomy for acute occlusive mesenteric ischemia

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Acute mesenteric ischemia (AMI) caused by arterial occlusive disease requires prompt diagnosis and revascularization to avoid the high mortality associated with this disease. In an attempt to minimize the magnitude of operation for arterial occlusive AMI, we have developed a new technique of endovascular recanalization and open retrograde stenting of the superior mesenteric artery (SMA) during laparotomy so that the bowel can also be assessed and resected if necessary.


All emergent mesenteric revascularizations for arterial occlusive AMI performed at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center from 2001 to 2005 (n = 13) were retrospectively reviewed. Outcomes were analyzed with respect to the method of revascularization and other perioperative variables. Restenosis was evaluated with duplex ultrasound imaging.


Three different revascularization methods were used: surgical bypass (n = 5), antegrade percutaneous stenting (n = 2), and retrograde open mesenteric (SMA) stenting (ROMS, n = 6). Satisfactory revascularization was achieved in all cases and all methods. ROMS was successfully accomplished in three of six patients after antegrade attempts to cross the SMA from the arm were unsuccessful. At 17%, the ROMS group had the lowest hospital mortality compared with bypass at 80% (P= .08) and percutaneous stent at 100% (P= .11). All five of the surviving patients treated with ROMS were discharged to home after a mean hospital stay of 20 days (range, 6 to 38 days). During a mean follow-up of 13 ± 7 months, three patients died of unrelated causes, of which two were being followed with asymptomatic recurrent SMA stenosis detected by duplex scan. The two surviving patients are alive and well, but one has required percutaneous SMA stenting of a progressive asymptomatic restenosis.


Retrograde open SMA stenting during laparotomy for AMI has a high technical success rate and provides an attractive alternative to surgical bypass in these often critically ill patients. Because it is combined with open laparotomy, it honors the essential surgical principles of evaluating and resecting nonviable bowel. Restenosis rates appear to be high, so that patients must be followed closely. Further study and development of this new hybrid technique is warranted.

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