World Journal of Surgery

, Volume 43, Issue 12, pp 3224–3231 | Cite as

Open and Endovascular Management of Acute Mesenteric Ischaemia: A Systematic Review

  • B. MurphyEmail author
  • C. H. C. Dejong
  • D. C. Winter
Scientific Review



Acute mesenteric ischaemia (AMI) is a life-threatening surgical emergency resulting from thromboembolic occlusion of the mesenteric vasculature. Traditional management of AMI has been open revascularisation with or without bowel resection—a procedure which carries considerable morbidity and mortality in an already unwell, compromised patient. Endovascular and more minimally invasive management approaches to AMI have been reported. Proponents of endovascular management suggest this approach may be associated with reduced morbidity and mortality compared with open surgery.


To assess the impact of endovascular approach for AMI on mortality and need for subsequent laparotomy and/or bowel resection.

Data Sources

The search bodies PubMed and Medline were interrogated.

Eligibility Criteria, Participants and Interventions

All studies in English with greater than 10 patients examining outcomes for patients undergoing endovascular intervention for acute mesenteric ischaemia were included. All patients over 18 years presenting with a diagnosis of acute mesenteric ischaemia secondary to an arterial thromboembolic source were included. Studies examining endovascular intervention alone or endovascular and open intervention were selected.


The 30-day mortality for endovascular approach from all 13 studies was 16–42%. Of the 7 comparative studies including results of open revascularisation, the 30-day mortality for patient treated with an endovascular approach was 15–39% versus 33–50% for open revascularisation. Laparotomy rates post-initial endovascular intervention ranged from 13 to 73%. Bowel resection post-endovascular therapy ranged from 14 to 40% among studies. Concerning 7 comparative studies for open versus endovascular revascularisation, the rate of bowel resection in the endovascular group ranged 14–28% and 33–63% in the open cohort. Endovascular intervention also demonstrated lower median length (s) of bowel resected.


Heterogeneity of studies and patient populations studied including selection bias.

Conclusions and implications of findings

Endovascular management may be associated with reduced mortality and need for/length of bowel resection compared with the traditional open approach, but there remains a paucity of robust data to support this. The available literature illustrates that a subgroup of patients without haemodynamic compromise and more insidious onset may garner benefit from endovascular intervention.



The authors declare no source of funding or additional support, financial or other.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Société Internationale de Chirurgie 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departments of General SurgerySt. Vincent’s University HospitalElm Park, Dublin 4Ireland
  2. 2.Departments of SurgeryMaastricht UniversityMaastrichtThe Netherlands

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