Overt ischemic colitis after endovascular repair of aortoiliac aneurysms

Patrick J. Geraghty, Luis A. Sanchez, Brian G. Rubin, Eric T. Choi, M. Wayne Flye, John A. Curci, Robert W. Thompson, Gregorio A. Sicard

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59 Scopus citations


Objective Controversy exists as to the cause of ischemic colitis complicating endovascular aneurysm repair. Occlusion of the hypogastric arteries (HAs) during endovascular repair of aortoiliac aneurysms (AIAs) results in a significant incidence of buttock claudication, and has been suggested as a causative factor in the development of postprocedural colonic ischemia, in addition to factors such as systemic hypotension, embolization of atheromatous debris, and interruption of inferior mesenteric artery inflow. To analyze the relationship between perioperative HA occlusion and postoperative ischemic colitis, we reviewed our experience over 2 years with Food and Drug Administration-approved endovascular graft devices for treatment of AIAs. Methods Elective repair of AIAs with bifurcated endovascular grafts was performed in 233 patients over a 2-year period. These included 184 AneuRx grafts, 17 Ancure grafts, and 32 Excluder grafts. During the experience, 44 patients (18.9%) underwent unilateral perioperative HA occlusion (28 right, 16 left) during the course of endovascular AIA repair, and 1 patient (0.4%) underwent bilateral HA occlusion. Results In 4 patients (1.7%) signs and symptoms of ischemic colitis developed 2.0 ± 1.4 days postoperatively. In all patients the diagnosis was confirmed at sigmoidoscopy, and initial treatment included bowel rest, hydration, and intravenous antibiotic agents. Three patients with bilateral patent HAs required colonic resection 14.7 ± 9.7 days after the initial diagnosis, and 2 of these 3 patients died in the postoperative period. Pathologic findings confirmed the presence of atheroemboli in the colonic vasculature in all 3 patients who underwent colonic resection. The fourth patient had undergone multiple manipulations of the left HA in an unsuccessful attempt to preserve patency of this vessel during AIA repair. This patient recovered completely with nonoperative management. Perioperative unilateral HA occlusion was not associated with a significantly higher incidence of postoperative ischemic colitis. Conclusion Perioperative HA occlusion during aortoiliac open or endovascular surgery may contribute to development of the rare but potentially lethal complication of ischemic colitis. However, our extensive experience suggests that embolization of atheromatous debris to the HA tissue beds during endovascular manipulations, rather than proximal HA occlusion, is the primary cause of clinically significant ischemic colitis after endovascular aneurysm repair.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)413-418
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Vascular Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2004


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