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Ischaemic bowel in the critically ill 

Ischaemic bowel in the critically ill
Ischaemic bowel in the critically ill

A. G. Peppelenbosch

and Martijn Poeze

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date: 28 June 2022

Intestinal ischaemia is caused by occlusion of the visceral arteries, thrombosis of the mesenteric veins, or by (low-flow) non-occlusive mesenteric ischaemia (NOMI). Each condition has a specific diagnostic and therapeutic work-up and prognostic significance. The incidence of acute mesenteric infarction is as low as 0.63 cases/100,000 person years, but overall mortality rates remains high at 74%. In general, a high index of suspicion is necessary and should be followed by administering therapeutic low molecular weight heparin or systemic heparin infusion. In these patients resuscitation and organ support are essential, but should not delay diagnostic work-up, including CT-angiography. With arterial occlusion, revascularization should be performed if indicated, preferentially using endovascular techniques prior to laparotomy. For venous occlusion, thrombolytic therapy directly into the superior mesenteric artery or venous thrombectomy can be performed, followed by laparotomy. The treatment of NOMI is to treat the underlying cause.

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