Clinical and radiographic presentation of superior mesenteric vein thrombosis in Crohn's disease: A single center experience

Uri Kopylov*, Marianne M. Amitai, Aharon Lubetsky, Rami Eliakim, Yehuda Chowers, Shomron Ben-Horin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Background: Mesenteric vein thrombosis (MVT) is a rare and frequently underdiagnosed complicationof Crohn's disease (CD). This study describes the clinical and radiological characteristics of CD /patients with superior mesenteric vein thrombosis (MVT) diagnosed by CT/MRI. Patients and methods: The database of Crohn's disease patients treated in Sheba Medical Center between 2005-2010 was searched for MVT diagnosis. Imaging studies of identified patients were retrieved and reviewed by an experienced abdominal radiologist. MVT was defined by superior mesenteric vein obliteration and/or thrombus in the vessel lumen on abdominal imaging. The clinical and radiologic data of these patients were collected from the medical records. Results: MVT was demonstrated in 6/460 CD patients. Five patients had stricturing disease, and one patient had a combined fistulizing and stricturing disease phenotype. All patients had small bowel disease, but 3/6 also had colonic involvement. No patient had a prior thromboembolic history or demonstrable hypercoagulability. One patient had an acute SMV thrombus demonstrable on CT scanning, the remaining patients showed an obliteration of superior mesenteric vein. Two patients received anticoagulation upon diagnosis of thrombosis. No subsequent thromboembolic events were recorded. Conclusions: The incidence of mesenteric vein thrombosis is likely to be underestimated in patients with Crohn's disease. Both CT and MRI imaging demonstrate the extent of enteric disease and coincident SMV thrombosis. In our cohort, thrombosis was associated with stricturing disease of the small bowel. The clinical impact of SMV thrombosis and whether anticoagulation is mandatory for all of these patients remains to be determined.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)543-549
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Crohn's and Colitis
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jun 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Anticoagulation
  • Crohn's disease
  • Mesenteric vein thrombosis
  • Portal vein thrombosis
  • Thromboembolism


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