The significance and frequency of fibrin thrombi (FT), the pathological hallmark of disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC), in ischemic intestine were analyzed in a retrospective study of the infarcted bowel of patients with occlusive mesenteric ischemia (OMI) and nonocclusive mesenteric ischemia (NOMI). Representative intestinal sections were studied from 10 patients with NOMI of the small and/or large bowel and 12 patients, with OMI of varied etiology. Three patients with inflammatory bowel disease and 1 patient with DIC and bowel necrosis were also studied. Routine hematoxylin and eosin stains for fibrin were prepared for each specimen. The number of IT was quantitated. FT were identified in each of the 10 cases of NOMI; however in only 2 were they prominent. FT were identified in 6 of the 12 cases of OMI and in 4 of these 6 they were a prominent feature. Rare FT were present in the cases of inflammatory bowel disease and did not correlate with the inflammatory process. No IT were present in the intestinal sections of the DlC case. FT are a nonspecific feature of necrosis and can be identified in both occlusive and nonocclusive ischemic bowel disease. Their presence in the intestine of NOMI therefore cannot be used to implicate DIC as the primary cause of this entity.
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