Ischemia of the mesenteric arteries

Ischemia of the mesenteric arteries . It occurs when there is a narrowing or blockage of one or more of the three mesenteric arteries, the major arteries supplying both the large and small intestines .


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  • 1 Causes, incidence and risk factors
  • 2 Symptoms
  • 3 Signs and tests
  • 4 Treatment
  • 5 Forecast
  • 6 Complications
  • 7 Situations requiring medical assistance
  • 8 Prevention
  • 9 Internal links
  • 10 Sources

Causes, incidence and risk factors

Narrowing of the arteries that supply blood to the intestines causes mesenteric ischemia. The arteries that supply blood to this area come directly from the aorta , the main artery that leaves the heart . Mesenteric artery ischemia is frequently seen in people who have hardening of the arteries in other parts of the body (for example, those with coronary artery disease or peripheral vascular disease). This condition is more common in smokers and in patients with high blood pressure and high levels of cholesterol in the blood. Mesenteric ischemia can also be caused by a blood clot.blood (embolus) that travels through the bloodstream and suddenly blocks one of the mesenteric arteries. Clots usually come from the heart or aorta and are most often seen in patients with abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias), such as atrial fibrillation.


Symptoms of prolonged (chronic) ischemia of the mesenteric arteries caused by hardening of the arteries ( atherosclerosis ):

  • Abdominal painafter eating
  • Diarrhea

Symptoms of sudden (acute) ischemia of the mesenteric arteries due to a traveling blood clot:

  • Diarrhea
  • Sudden, severe abdominalpain
  • Vomiting

Signs and tests

In acute mesenteric ischemia, blood tests may show a higher than normal white blood cell count (GB) and changes in the acid level of the blood. A CT scan can show problems with the blood vessels and intestines . A mesenteric angiography is a test that involves the injection of a special contrast medium into the bloodstream in order to highlight the arteries of a intestine. X-rays of the area are then taken, which can show the location of the blockage in the artery .


Acute ischemia of the mesenteric arteries constitutes a medical emergency. The surgery usually is performed to remove the clot. In some cases, the surgeon also has to create a shunt around the obstruction. Surgery to treat chronic mesenteric artery ischemia involves removing the obstruction and reconnecting the arteries to the aorta.. Another procedure is to create a shunt around the obstruction and it is usually done with a plastic tube graft. An alternative to surgery is a stent (or stent) collation. It can be inserted to enlarge the blockage of the mesenteric artery or to deliver medications directly to the affected area. This is a new technique and should only be performed by experienced doctors .


In the case of chronic mesenteric ischemia, the prognosis after successful surgery is good. However, if proper lifestyle changes (such as exercise and a healthy diet ) are not made, problems with hardening of the arteries generally get worse over time. People with acute mesenteric ischemia usually have prognostic daunting because the death of the intestine usually occurs before is achieved perform surgery. However, when this condition is diagnosed and treated immediately, it can be successful in such treatment.


Tissue death from lack of blood flow (infarction) in the intestines is the most serious complication of ischemia of the mesenteric arteries. Surgery may be needed to remove the dead portion.

Situations requiring medical assistance

Check with your doctor if you have:

  • Changes in bowel movements
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Severe abdominalpain
  • Vomiting


Prevention involves paying attention to lifestyle changes that reduce the risk of atherosclerotic disease, including:

  • Exercise
  • Follow a healthy diet
  • Get treatment for a cardiac arrhythmia
  • Keep cholesterolin the blood under control
  • Keeping blood pressureunder control
  • Give up smoking

To prevent acute ischemia of the mesenteric arteries, also monitor for any heart rhythm problems that may cause blood clotting.


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