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Idiopathic Myointimal Hyperplasia of Mesenteric Veins: An Uncommon Cause of Ischemic Colitis With Distinct Mucosal Features

Yantiss, Rhonda K. MD*; Cui, Isabelle MD*; Panarelli, Nicole C. MD; Jessurun, Jose MD*

The American Journal of Surgical Pathology: December 2017 - Volume 41 - Issue 12 - p 1657–1665
doi: 10.1097/PAS.0000000000000905
Original Articles

Idiopathic myointimal hyperplasia of mesenteric veins causes chronic ischemic mucosal injury with segmental strictures that mimic inflammatory bowel disease and nonocclusive ischemic colitis. It is characterized by myointimal proliferative changes that narrow the lumina of veins combined with ischemic injury and ulcers. Most cases reported to date have been diagnosed following surgical resection. The aim of this study was to determine whether mucosal changes of idiopathic myointimal hyperplasia of mesenteric veins are sufficiently sensitive and specific to allow its recognition in biopsy material. The study group consisted of 10 patients with idiopathic myointimal hyperplasia of mesenteric veins who underwent surgical resection of the affected colon, 7 of whom had available prior endoscopic biopsies. The control group included 10 patients each with radiation, nonocclusive ischemia, Crohn disease, diverticulitis, and mucosal amyloidosis, and 5 cases of small vessel (leukocytoclastic) vasculitis. Study patients were mostly older men with distal colorectal disease. All resection specimens showed mucosal ischemia with numerous thick-walled (arteriolized) capillaries and glassy subendothelial fibrin deposits; numerous hyalinized, eosinophilic thrombi were detected in 90% of colectomy specimens. Biopsies showed arteriolized capillaries (100%), subendothelial fibrin deposits (86%), fibrin thrombi (43%), and perivascular hyalinization (43%). Fibrin thrombi were observed in only one case each of ischemic colitis and small vessel vasculitis, and none of the other abovementioned features were seen in any of the controls. We conclude that arteriolized capillaries, subendothelial fibrin deposits, and perivascular hyalinization are frequent and specific features that can facilitate recognition of idiopathic myointimal hyperplasia of mesenteric veins in biopsy samples.

*Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Weill Cornell Medicine, New York

Department of Pathology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY

Conflicts of Interest and Source of Funding: The authors have disclosed that they have no significant relationships with, or financial interest in, any commercial companies pertaining to this article.

Correspondence: Rhonda K. Yantiss, MD, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Weill Cornell Medicine, 525 East 68th Street, New York, NY 10065 (e-mail:

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