Early laparoscopic exploration for acute mesenteric ischemia after cardiac surgery

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Acute mesenteric ischemia (AMI) after cardiac surgery is a rare but fatal complication. Early diagnosis and intervention can be lifesaving. We report two cases of patients who underwent early diagnostic laparoscopy for suspicious AMI after cardiac surgery and demonstrated favorable outcomes. An 83-year-old male with severe left ventricular dysfunction underwent off-pump coronary artery bypass grafting. Severe ileus with gaseous distension of the small bowel was developed on the 3rd postoperative day and computed tomographic angiography (CTA) showed pneumatosis intestinalis of small bowel suggestive of AMI. An immediate bedside laparoscopy was performed and it showed preserved perfusion of small bowel. He recovered without complication under supportive medical management. Another 69-year-old male who underwent aortic valve replacement complained of whole abdominal tenderness with severe distension on the 3rd postoperative day. The CTA found segmental non-enhancing bowel wall with air bubbles suggestive of AMI with possible microperforation. A diagnostic laparoscopy demonstrated small-bowel infarction with pus-like fluid collection in the peritoneal cavity. The operation was converted to laparotomy and complete resection of ischemic segments of small bowel was done. He recovered well without any other complications and discharged home on the 35th postoperative day.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-217
Number of pages5
JournalAcute and Critical Care
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2020


  • Cardiac surgical procedure
  • Laparoscopy
  • Mesenteric ischemia

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