Mesenteric venous thrombosis presenting as gastrointestinal bleeding, a challenging diagnosis

Acute mesenteric venous thrombosis (MVT) is an uncommon cause of intestinal ischemia and is associated with high morbidity and mortality. Patients with acute MVT often present with gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding and other unspecific findings making the diagnosis challenging. This condition requires emergent treatment. The high rates of misdiagnosis of these patients and subsequently the delay in proper and quick management put patients at increased risk of having a negative outcome. Physicians should suspect acute MVT in patients with GI bleed while also considering other factors such as, a past medical history of pro-thrombotic conditions, past surgical history of splenectomy, symptoms of nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, physical exam findings of abdominal tenderness and abdominal distention and a laboratory workup indicating leukocytosis and an increased plasma lactic acid level. An increase in the yield of accurate diagnosis of acute MVT is possible if physicians in the ED accurately interpret all these findings. The authors herein present a case of acute MVT in a patient whose initial complaint was GI bleeding and provide a thorough review of the literature of cases of acute MVT presenting with GI bleed.

as reported in: Am J Emerg Med. 2019 Feb; 37(2): 378.e1-378.e6