Mesenteric vascular disease has been diagnosed increasingly over the past 25 years. This rise in incidence has been attributed to the advanced mean age of the population, an increasing number of critically ill patients and a greater clinical recognition of the condition. Although surgical revascularization and resection has long been the standard of treatment, medical management can also play an important adjunctive role. Early diagnosis before irreversible bowel damage, which may occur within 6–8 hours after the insult, is necessary to improve survival and reduce morbidity. Even in the presence of irreversible bowel ischemia, perioperative medical treatment may reduce disease progression, enabling more limited bowel resection. This article outlines the appropriate pharmacologic management of ischemic disorders of the intestine, with an emphasis on the pharmacologic treatments presently being used in clinical practice and those being studied in the laboratory.
From the *Department of Medicine, New York Medical College/Westchester Medical Center, Valhalla, New York; †Department of Medicine, Long Island Jewish Medical Center/Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New Hyde Park, New York; ‡Department of Medicine, Albert Einstein College of Medicine/Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx, New York; §Department of Radiology, University of California-San Francisco; and ¶Department of Radiology, New York Medical College/Westchester Medical Center, Valhalla, New York.
Correspondence: William H. Frishman, MD, Department of Medicine, New York Medical College, Munger Pavilion, Valhalla, NY 10595. E-mail: William_Frishman@nymc.edu.