Embolic occlusion of major arteries in patients with cardiac disease is a sudden and serious incident which too frequently ends in loss of limb or life.
Where embolus occludes the major blood supply to an extremity, the effects are immediately apparent and appraisal is relatively easy. Prompt management should be the rule. On the other hand, an embolus to the major blood supply of the intestinal tract is not readily appreciated by the observer, and delay in diagnosis and improper management result in serious and catastrophic sequelae. Collateral circulation provided by the celiac axis, arcades, and marginal vessels temporarily provides circulation which is adequate for survival of the distant tissue until thrombosis ensues. It is precisely this period of a few hours which is the opportune time for corrective measures. Unfortunately, this period is usually spent waiting until physical signs dictate the course of management. By this time ischemia has