Background: Diagnosing chronic gastrointestinal ischemia (CGI) is a challenging problem in clinical practice. Serum markers for CGI would be of great diagnostic value as a non-invasive test method. Aims: This study investigated serum markers in patients with well-defined ischemia. Furthermore, intestinal mucosal injury was also evaluated in CGI patients. Methods: Consecutive patients suspected of CGI were prospectively enrolled and underwent a diagnostic work-up consisting of gastrointestinal tonometry and either CT or MR angiography. Blood samples for analysis of intestinal fatty acid-binding protein (I-FABP), D-dimer, lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), leucocyte counts, C-reactive protein (CRP), and L-lactate were drawn before and after a standard meal. Intestinal mucosal injury was assessed with glutamine, citrulline and arginine in blood samples and compared to a sugar absorption test (SAT). Test reproducibility was validated in healthy subjects. Results: Forty patients and nine healthy subjects were included. Ischemia was diagnosed in 32 patients (80%). I-FABP, leucocyte counts, LDH, CRP, glutamine, citrulline, arginine and SAT levels did not differ between patients with and without ischemia. L-lactate concentration showed a significant elevation in ischemia patients as compared to non-ischemia patients. In ischemia patients, D-dimer levels showed a significant elevation postprandially as compared to D-dimer levels at baseline. However, these ischemia patients did not show intestinal mucosal injury. Conclusions: I-FABP, leucocyte counts, LDH and CRP levels are not clinically useful for the diagnosis of CGI. However, postprandial rises in L-lactate and D-dimer serum levels can serve as non-invasive indicators of CGI.

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Keywords Chronic gastrointestinal ischemia, D-dimer, Early serum markers, Intestinal mucosal injury, L-lactate, Late serum markers
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Note Article in press - dd September 2010
van Noord, D, Mensink, P.B.F, de Knegt, R.J, Ouwendijk, M, Francke, J, van Vuuren, A.J, … Kuipers, E.J. (2010). Serum Markers and Intestinal Mucosal Injury in Chronic Gastrointestinal Ischemia. Digestive Diseases and Sciences, 56(2), 506–512. doi:10.1007/s10620-010-1303-5