Condition 101 About Mesenteric Venous Thrombosis

What is the definition of Mesenteric Venous Thrombosis?

Mesenteric venous thrombosis (MVT) is a blood clot in one or more of the major veins that drain blood from the intestine. The superior mesenteric vein is most commonly involved.

What are the alternative names for Mesenteric Venous Thrombosis?


What are the causes for Mesenteric Venous Thrombosis?

MVT is a clot that blocks blood flow in a mesenteric vein. There are two such veins through which blood leaves the intestine. The condition stops the blood circulation of the intestine and can result in damage to the intestine.

The exact cause of MVT is unknown. However, there are many diseases that can lead to MVT. Many of the diseases cause swelling (inflammation) of the tissues surrounding the veins, and include:

  • Appendicitis
  • Cancer of the abdomen
  • Diverticulitis
  • Liver disease with cirrhosis
  • High blood pressure in the blood vessels of the liver
  • Abdominal surgery or trauma
  • Pancreatitis
  • Inflammatory bowel disorders
  • Heart failure
  • Protein C or S deficiencies
  • Polycythemia vera
  • Essential thrombocythemia

People who have disorders that make the blood more likely to stick together (clot) have a higher risk for MVT. Birth control pills and estrogen medicines also increase risk.

MVT is more common in men than women. It mainly affects middle aged or older adults.

What are the symptoms for Mesenteric Venous Thrombosis?

Symptoms may include any of the following:

  • Abdominal pain, which may get worse after eating and over time
  • Bloating
  • Constipation
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Septic shock
  • Lower gastrointestinal bleeding
  • Vomiting and nausea

What are the current treatments for Mesenteric Venous Thrombosis?

Blood thinners (most commonly heparin or related medicines) are used to treat MVT when there is no associated bleeding. In some cases, medicine can be delivered directly into the clot to dissolve it. This procedure is called thrombolysis.

Less often, the clot is removed with a type of surgery called thrombectomy.

If there are signs and symptoms of a severe infection called peritonitis, surgery to remove the intestine is done. After surgery, an ileostomy (opening from the small intestine into a bag on the skin) or colostomy (an opening from the colon into the skin) may be needed.

What is the outlook (prognosis) for Mesenteric Venous Thrombosis?

Outlook depends on the cause of the thrombosis and any damage to the intestine. Getting treatment for the cause before the intestine has died can result in a good recovery.

What are the possible complications for Mesenteric Venous Thrombosis?

Intestinal ischemia is a serious complication of MVT. Part or all of the intestine dies because of poor blood supply.

When should I contact a medical professional for Mesenteric Venous Thrombosis?

Contact your health care provider if you have severe or repeated episodes of abdominal pain.


Cloud A, Dussel JN, Webster-Lake C, Indes J. Mesenteric ischemia. In: Yeo CJ, ed. Shackelford's Surgery of the Alimentary Tract. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 87.

Feuerstadt P, Brandt LJ. Intestinal ischemia. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 118.

Roline CE, Reardon RF. Disorders of the small intestine. In: Walls RM, Hockberger RS, Gausche-Hill M, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 82.

Top Global Doctors For Mesenteric Venous Thrombosis

Walter Ageno
Varese, IT
Susan R. Kahn
Montreal, QC, CA
Paolo Simioni
Padova, IT
Sam P. Schulman
Hamilton, ON, CA

Latest Advances On Mesenteric Venous Thrombosis

  • Condition: Acute Portal Vein Thrombosis in Non-Cirrhosis
  • Journal: Medicine
  • Treatment Used: Transjugular Intrahepatic Portosystemic Shunt combined with AngioJet Thrombectomy
  • Number of Patients: 23
  • Published —
This study tested the safety and efficacy of using a transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt combined with AngioJet thrombectomy to treat patients with acute portal vein thrombosis in non-cirrhosis.
  • Condition: Hepatocellular Carcinoma
  • Journal: Journal of cancer research and therapeutics
  • Treatment Used: Transcatheter Arterial Chemoembolization Combined with 125i Seed Implantation versus Apatinib
  • Number of Patients: 48
  • Published —
In this study, researchers compared the safety and effectiveness of transcatheter arterial chemoembolization combined with 125I seed implantation versus apatinib for the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma with portal vein tumor thrombosis.

Clinical Trials For Mesenteric Venous Thrombosis

Clinical Trial
  • Status: Not yet recruiting
  • Participants: 200
  • Start Date: June 1, 2021
International Registry on the Diagnosis and Treatment of Inferior Vena Cava Thrombosis