Idiopathic myointimal hyperplasia is a distinct cause of chronic colon ischaemia

B. Anderson, T. C. Smyrk, R. P. Graham, A. Lightner, S. Sweetser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aim: Colon ischaemia (CI) is most commonly an acute and reversible manifestation of a transient, non-occlusive decrease of blood flow in the colonic microvasculature. Irreversible complications are uncommon and the progression to chronic CI remains controversial. Our objective was to identify cases of chronic CI and assess for distinct clinicopathological features. Method: A retrospective review was performed of CI patients having symptom chronicity of ≥ 1 month and ischaemic histology at our institution from 1994 to 2015. Demographic, clinical, endoscopic, radiological, pathological and outcome variables were abstracted. Histological evaluation was performed by two gastrointestinal pathologists. Results: Fifteen patients (n = 9; 67% men) with a median age of 65 years (range 22–88) were identified. The most common presenting symptoms were diarrhoea and abdominal pain (n = 6, 86%; n = 5, 71%, respectively). The typical endoscopic appearance was segmental ulceration of the sigmoid colon (n = 6, 75%). Vascular imaging showed patent mesenteric vessels in all patients. Histopathological evaluation revealed venous intimal hyperplasia consistent with idiopathic myointimal hyperplasia of the mesenteric veins (IMHMV) in eight patients; the remainder showed non-specific ulceration and fibrosis. Surgical resection was performed in seven IMHMV patients, resulting in symptom resolution. On re-review of pre-resection biopsies, all IMHMV patients had characteristic changes of hyperplastic, thick-walled, hyalinized vessels in the lamina propria. Conclusions: IMHMV is a unique histopathological entity causing chronic CI. The small vessel histological changes in IMHMV are distinctive in colonic resections and undetectable by routine vascular imaging. Preoperative diagnosis of IMHMV is possible with endoscopic biopsy and segmental colon resection is curative.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1073-1078
Number of pages6
JournalColorectal Disease
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2019


  • colitis
  • comparative
  • histology
  • ischaemia
  • mesenteric veins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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