Trauma to the Superior Mesenteric Artery and Superior Mesenteric Vein: A Narrative Review of Rare but Lethal Injuries

B. Phillips, S. Reiter, E. P. Murray, D. McDonald, L. Turco, D. L. Cornell, J. A. Asensio

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Mesenteric vessels, including the superior mesenteric artery (SMA) and vein (SMV), provide and drain the rich blood supply of the midgut and hindgut. SMA and SMV injuries are rare and often lethal. Clinical management of these injuries is not well established, but treatment options include operative, non-operative, and endovascular strategies. A narrative review of the literature was conducted using MEDLINE Complete-EBSCO. Relevant studies, specifically those focusing on diagnosis and management of SMA and SMV injuries, were selected. Only original reports and collected series were selected to prevent duplication of cases. A search of the literature for mesenteric arterial injuries yielded 87 studies. Vessel-specific breakdown of the studies yielded 40 with SMA injuries and 41 with SMV injuries. These searches were winnowed to 26 individual studies, which were included in this collective review. Limitations of this study are similar to all narrative literature reviews: the dependence on previously published research and availability of references as outlined in our methodology. Although historically rare, mesenteric vessel injuries are seen with increasing incidence and continue to present a challenge to trauma surgeons due to their daunting mortality rates. Currently, universal treatment guidelines do not exist, but the various options for their management have been extensively reviewed in the literature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)713-726
Number of pages14
JournalWorld Journal of Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery


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