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J Vasc Surg. 1993 Sep;18(3):459-67; discussion 467-9.

Multiple organ dysfunction after mesenteric artery revascularization.

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Department of Surgery, University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville 32610-0286.



Mesenteric arterial reconstruction in patients with acute or chronic intestinal ischemia is associated with significant morbidity and mortality rates. Reperfusion of ischemic bowel in animals leads to release of multiple factors that cause organ dysfunction. Similar phenomena potentially occur in human beings after repair of symptomatic chronic mesenteric arterial disease. The purpose of this study was to define the incidence of multiple organ dysfunction seen after reperfusion of the chronically ischemic bowel.


Between January 1990 and January 1993, 18 patients underwent surgical revascularization for symptomatic chronic mesenteric arterial occlusive disease. Four patients required emergency surgery, whereas 14 procedures were done electively. Hepatic, renal, pulmonary, and coagulation function were evaluated in all patients. Bypass graft patency was confirmed by duplex scanning or repeat operation in all patients with deteriorating conditions.


Immediately after surgery hepatic function deteriorated. The serum transaminases increased 90- to 100-fold whereas lactate dehydrogenase increased 25-fold. Simultaneously, platelet counts dropped below 40,000 mm3 in 11 patients. On postoperative day 2, 16 patients had acute pulmonary insufficiency demonstrated by an increase in the pulmonary shunt fraction to a mean of 32% +/- 3% (range 21% to 60%). Ten patients required reintubation, and lung failure lasted an average of 8.4 days (range 1 to 35 days). Hepatic and coagulation function changes were usually transient, returning to baseline within 7 to 10 days. Four of the patients who had multiple organ dysfunction died (two after elective surgery), and one patient died of myocardial infarction after emergency surgery.


Revascularization of chronically ischemic bowel leads to significant multiple organ dysfunction, potentially as a result of intestinal ischemia and reperfusion injury.

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