The mortality rate among patients with acute mesenteric venous thrombosis ranges from 20 to 50 percent.5,9 Survival depends on multiple factors, including age, the presence or absence of coexisting conditions, and the timing of the diagnosis and surgical intervention. Patients who require surgery are sicker and have longer hospital stays and a more complicated course than those who do not require surgery.
Postoperative complications include sepsis, wound infection, and the short-bowel syndrome in patients who require extensive resection of the small bowel. Long-term survival depends primarily on the cause of the thrombosis. If cancer is the underlying cause, survival is short and is determined by the nature of the cancer.
Mesenteric venous thrombosis has a high rate of recurrence, and recurrences are most common within 30 days after presentation.23 The recurrence rate may be lower in patients who receive a combination of surgery and anticoagulation than in those who are treated with anticoagulation alone.9 The observation that up to 60 percent of recurrences are at the site of the anastomosis4 may reflect inadequate bowel resection or propagation of the residual thrombus.