Superior mesenteric vein thrombosis (SMVT) is an uncommon but potentially life-threatening postoperative complication of colorectal surgery. Risk factors and prognosis of SMVT have been poorly described and data to create gold standard criteria for diagnosis and management are lacking. SMVT has a wide spectrum of clinical presentation, hence, its early identification may be a diagnostic challenge.
56 year old obese female patient with inherited prothrombotic condition underwent an open right hemicolectomy plus cholecystectomy; the immediate postoperative course was uneventful but on postoperative day 8, already at home, she experienced post-prandial abdominal pain without any other local or systemic signs or symptoms. The CT scan showed a complete thrombosis of the superior mesenteric vein without any bowel complications. Immediately submitted to systemic subcutaneous anticoagulation bridge therapy to a lifelong oral anticoagulation she had a complete clinical recovery on postoperative day 17, despite the persistence at CT scan of complete SMVT without any intestinal suffering.
SMVT is a multifactorial event where both local and general factors are involved. Conclusive data about comparison of SMVT incidence in laparoscopic vs open colorectal surgery and those about its incidence in cancer vs non cancer groups of patients in relation to the surgical technique are missing. Variability of clinical course and the absence of specific signs, symptoms and laboratory findings make diagnosis of SMVT challenging, therefore it is crucial to have high suspicion. As for the treatment, first line approach is systemic anticoagulation therapy with LMWH for at least 6 months, followed by oral anticoagulation, the earlier we initiate the therapy the greater rate of recanalization we will get.
prompt diagnosis and more aggressive thromboprophylaxis in patients with inherited or acquired risk factors may prevent the negative evolution towards bowel necrosis of SMVT.
Colorectal surgery, Superior mesenteric vein thrombosis, Hypercoagulable disorders, Thromboprophylaxis.