Background: Percutaneous therapy for symptomatic visceral occlusive disease is rapidly gaining popularity in many centers. This study evaluates the anatomic and functional outcomes of open and endovascular therapy for chronic mesenteric ischemia at an academic medical center. Study design: We performed a retrospective review of patients who underwent endovascular or open mesenteric arterial revascularization for chronic mesenteric ischemia between January 1989 and September 2003. Indications for revascularization included postprandial abdominal pain (92%) or weight loss (54%). All had atherosclerotic visceral occlusive disease with a median of 2 vessels with more than 50% stenosis or occlusion on angiography. Sixty patients (44 women, mean age 66 years) underwent 67 interventions (43 vessels bypassed, 23 vessel endarterectomies, 22 vessel angioplasty and stents). The median numbers of vessels revascularized were two in the open group and one in the endovascular group. Results: Thirty-day mortality and cumulative survival at 3 years were similar (open, 15% and 62% ± 9%; endovascular, 21% and 63% ± 14%, respectively; p = NS). Cumulative patencies at 6 months were 83% ± 7% and 68% ± 14% in the open and endovascular groups, respectively (p = NS). Major morbidity, median postoperative length of stay, and cumulative freedom from recurrent symptoms at 6 months were significantly greater in the open group (open, 46%, 23 days, and 71% ± 7%, respectively; endovascular, 19%, 1 day, and 34% ± 10%, respectively; p < 0.01). Conclusions: Endovascular revascularization is attractive because it carries equivalent patency to open revascularization. Symptomatic benefit of endovascular revascularization is not achieved, probably as a result of incomplete revascularization. Despite incomplete revascularization, endovascular therapy has equivalent survival and lower morbidity compared with open revascularization. Complete endovascular revascularization needs further evaluation to determine if it is superior to open revascularization. In the interim, endovascular therapy should be reserved for the patient unable to undergo open revascularization.
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