Mesenteric Ischemia

Mesenteric ischemia is the damage to the tissue of the intestine caused by acute or sudden as well as chronic lack of blood supply to the specific area. It can be though of as the intestinal equivalence of a heart attack, caused by blood clots in the arteries that supply blood to the heart.

This condition is also known as vascular or menteric bowel disorder.

Symptoms of Mesenteric Ischemia

The symptoms of acute mesenteric ischemia are:

  • Severe pain and cramps in the abdomen
  • Blood in the stool
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation

The symptoms of chronic mesenteric ischemia are:

  • Chronic pain in the abdomen after eating
  • Weight loss
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Fear of eating, because of the associated pain after eating


Your doctor may order the following tests to diagnose mesenteric ischemia:

  • Physical examination
    Inflammation of the bowel or diffuse peritonitis can cause extreme tenderness of the abdomen.

  • Blood pressure inspection
    Low and unstable blood pressure is a medical emergency and is indicative of shock due to this condition.

  • Blood test
    Abnormal metabolic levels are present in patients with mesenteric ischemia.

  • Angiogram
    This test can reveal clot or blockage in the arteries.

  • X-ray and CT scan
    Tissue damage due to lack of blood flow to the abdomen is revealed by these tests.

Causes of Mesenteric Ischemia

Mesenteric ischemia is caused by intestinal tissue damage due to lack of blood supply to the area. Blood flow is interrupted by plaques or clots that form in the arteries – which may cause an acute or sudden and severe loss of flow, or a chronic condition where the blood flow is severely reduced.

The process of plaque or clot formation, called artherosclerosis, is quite complex and involves many factors including genetics, diets, cholesterol and triglycerides levels.

Treatment of Mesenteric Ischemia

The treatments for this condition include:

  • Surgery
    If the angiogram shows a specific clot or blockage, then an emergency surgery may be required. Surgery may also be necessary if significant tissue d amage has already occurred.

  • Angioplasty
    A baloon is threaded through the artery and is inflated at the location of the blockage to restore blood flow.

  • Vasodilator medication
    Medicines that dilate the arteries, such as papaverine, is given intravenously to open the clot.

As with heart attack, immediate treatment of menteric ischemia is very important – call your doctor or go to the emergency room immediately if you suspect that you have this condition.

Main Menu
Health Articles
Health News
Health Research
Site Map

Health Conditions
Cardiovascular Health
Digestive Health
Infectous Diseases
Musculoskeletal Health
Pregnancy & Childbirth
Skin Health

Misc. Health Articles
Presidential Diseases

Digestive Conditions
All Digestive Conditions


©copyright 2004 - Health In Plain English. All Rights Reserved.

Health Articles Health News Health Research Explained in Plain English