Mesenteric vein thrombosis, its symptoms & treatments

Over the past two decades, experts have noted a rising prevalence of life-threatening mesenteric venous thrombosis globally. This has led to calls for increased public awareness and continuous education on this rare but fatal medical condition to prevent its occurrence and future serious complications.

Healthline.com describes mesenteric vein thrombosis as a rare condition that occurs when a blood clot forms in one or more of the major veins that drain blood from the intestines.The disease exhibits a number of symptoms, the most common of which are an abdominal pain after eating, bloating, and diarrhea. In severe cases, patients also experience vomiting, fever, and bloody stools; prompt treatment and timely intervention are required to save a patient’s life.

To further understand the condition, Prime Hospital conducted a case study involving a 30-year-old male Lebanese who was admitted to the hospital due to acute abdominal pain. Results of the computed tomography (CT) angiography of the abdomen showed that the patient was suffering from superior mesenteric vein thrombosis, a life-threatening condition due to the risk of mesenteric ischemia – defined as an injury of the small intestine caused by insufficient blood supply. As with any other medical condition, obtaining a complete history of the patient –pain levels, associated symptoms, and medical, surgical and social background– is critical for accurate diagnosis and treatment.

While the case-patient had no significant past or family history, he did test positive for Factor V Leiden mutation, which increases the chance of developing abnormal blood clots. Interestingly, the prevalence of Factor V Leiden mutation, a genetic disorder, is high among European Caucasians and individuals from Jordan, Asia, Lebanon, Western Iran, Canada and the United States. Further compounding his condition is the fact that he has Antithrombin III deficiency. Antithrombin III is a non-vitamin K-dependent protease that inhibits coagulation by neutralizing the enzymatic activity of thrombin. This makes the patient’s case highly rare and worth further investigation.

In the case study, Prime Hospital emphasized the need for screening strategies especially in susceptible and high-risk populations to detect and address the condition at an early stage. This will minimize its effects and prevent the situation from becoming a serious or even fatal case.

Advances in medicine and technologies have reduced surgical intervention in such a condition. Increasing recognition, routine, and frequent use of anticoagulation, or blood thinners utilized to prevent coagulation of blood, has brought relief to many patients who have not gone under the knife. Another common course of treatment and follow-up for individuals with prior episodes of mesenteric venous thrombosis is oral anticoagulant prophylaxis with strict monitoring of the international normalized ratio (INR) level, Prime Hospital added.

Experts are one in underscoring the significance of public education especially among high-risk patients. Major lifestyle changes – such as maintaining a healthy body weight; avoiding smoking, excessive drinking, and immobility for a long period of time; and engaging in physical activities -  will make a major difference in one’s health.

While communities have a long way to go in terms of increasing public awareness on mesenteric venous thrombosis, it pays that more people are now giving the disease enough attention as one sure step to prevent the occurrence of such a grave but treatable medical condition.