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Acute mesenteric ischemia: which predictive factors of delayed diagnosis at emergency unit?

Abstract

Purpose

Acute mesenteric ischemia (AMI) is frequently diagnosed late, leading to a poor prognosis. Our aims were to identify predictive factors of delayed diagnosis and to analyze the outcomes of patients with AMI admitted in emergency units.

Methods

All the patients with AMI (2015–2020), in two Emergency units, were retrospectively included. Two groups were defined according to the time of diagnosis between the arrival at emergency unit and the CT scan: ≤ 6 h (early), > 6 h (delayed).

Results

119 patients (mean age = 71 ± 7 years) were included. The patients with a delayed diagnosis (n = 33, 28%) were significantly associated with atypical presentation, including lower rates of abdominal pain (73 vs 89%, p = 0.003), abdominal tenderness (33 vs 43%, p = 0.03), and plasma lactate (4 ± 2 vs 6 ± 7 mmol/l, p = 0.03) when compared with early diagnosis. After multivariate analysis, the absence of abdominal pain was the only independent predictive factor of delayed diagnosis (Odd Ratio = 0.17; 95% CI = 0.03–0.88, p = 0.03). Patients with delayed diagnosis tended to be associated to lower rates of revascularization (9 vs 17%, p = 0.4), higher rates of major surgical morbidity (90 vs 57%, p = 0.1), longer length of stay (16 ± 23 vs 13 ± 15 days, p = 0.4) and, at the end of follow-up, higher rate of short small bowel syndrome (18 vs 7%, p = 0.095).

Conclusion

AMI is a challenge for emergency physicians. History of patient, physical exam, biological data are not sufficient to diagnose AMI. New biomarkers, and awareness of emergency physicians should improve and accelerate the diagnosis of AMI.

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Correspondence to Diane Mege.

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Martin, J., Depietro, R., Bartoli, A. et al. Acute mesenteric ischemia: which predictive factors of delayed diagnosis at emergency unit?. Eur J Trauma Emerg Surg (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00068-022-02112-9

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00068-022-02112-9

Keywords

  • Acute mesenteric ischemia
  • Diagnosis
  • CT scan
  • Plasma lactates