MESENTERIC ISCHEMIA

What is Mesenteric Ischemia?

Plaque build up can occur anywhere in the body including the arteries supplying the intestines. When significant blockage occurs in these arteries, there is decreased blood flow to the intestines resulting in symptoms.

Less frequently, a clot (from the heart or elsewhere) can cause sudden loss of blood flow to the intestine resulting in an emergency that threatens potential death of the intestine - immediate restoration of blood flow and surgery in the case of gut necrosis is essential.

What are the Symptoms of Mesenteric Ischemia?

Symptoms of mesenteric ischemic include:

  • Acute:

    • Sudden abdominal pain

    • Bloating

    • Abdominal distention

    • Bloody stools

  • Chronic:

    • Pain after eating

    • Fear of food

    • Weight loss

    • Bloating

    • Nausea/vomiting/diarrhea

How is Mesenteric Ischemia Diagnosed?

Testing for mesenteric ischemia includes:

  • Blood tests

  • Abdominal ultrasound

  • CT angiography

  • Angiography

How is Mesenteric Ischemia Treated?

Treatment for mesenteric ischemia includes restoration of blood flow to the intestines typically using stents, and in rare cases, using bypass. As with other diseases due to plaque, treatment should include smoking cessation (when appropriate), additional risk factor modification to reduce likelihood of more plaque build up (similar to management for coronary artery disease), exercise and medication. 

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