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Mesenteric Ischemia
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Mesenteric ischemia

Diseases & Conditions A-Z

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DIGESTIVE SYSTEM
Diseases & Conditions  
  • Anal itch
  • Appendicitis
  • Celiac disease
  • Cirrhosis
  • Colon polyps
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Diverticulitis
  • Fecal incontinence
  • Gallstones
  • Gas and gas pains
  • Gastritis
  • Gastroenteritis
  • Heartburn/GERD
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Hepatitis C
  • Hiatal hernia
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Mesenteric ischemia
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Jaundice in newborns
  • Nonulcer dyspepsia (indigestion)
  • Pancreatitis
  • Peptic ulcer
  • Reye's syndrome
  • Traveler's diarrhea
  • Wilson's disease
  • Zollinger-Ellison syndrome
  • Mesenteric ischemia is caused by an interruption in blood flow to all or part of the small intestine or the right colon. You're losing weight, but not because you want to. Lately you've avoided eating regular meals. That's because a short time after eating a meal, you end up with belly pain that lasts for an hour or two. And as the pain has become worse, the thought of eating is not at all appealing.

    It's possible you have a condition called chronic mesenteric ischemia - reduced flow of oxygen-rich blood to your gut.

    The cause could be accumulation of fatty deposits in some of your arteries (atherosclerosis), which narrows those arteries and restricts the amount of blood moving through them. When atherosclerosis affects the arteries supplying blood to your intestinal tract, it causes pain and makes it more difficult for your intestines to do their job.

  • atherosclerosis
  • Undetected, chronic mesenteric ischemia could lead to a life-threatening blockage of the blood supply to your gut. Fortunately, once chronic mesenteric ischemia is recognized, it can often be successfully treated.

    Signs and symptoms

    The most common types of intestinal ischemia are colon ischemia; acute mesenteric artery ischemia and chronic mesenteric artery ischemia, both of which mainly affect the small intestine; and ischemia due to mesenteric venous thrombosis. Signs and symptoms of intestinal ischemia depend on the type.

    Colon ischemia, the most common type of intestinal ischemia, may be caused or aggravated by several conditions, including heart failure and low blood pressure. Signs and symptoms of colon ischemia include:

    • Sudden, sometimes mild, crampy, often left-sided abdominal pain

    • An urgent need to move your bowels

    • Abdominal tenderness

    • Bright red- or maroon-colored blood in your stool

  • Abdominal pain

  • Acute mesenteric artery ischemia results from a sudden blockage of an artery, usually the superior mesenteric artery. Signs and symptoms may include:

    • Sudden, often severe abdominal pain

    • Frequent, forceful bowel movements

    • Abdominal distention

    • Blood in your stool

    • Possibly, bouts of abdominal pain after eating in the weeks or months before severe pain began

  • Abdominal pain

  • Chronic mesenteric artery ischemia, a less common type of intestinal ischemia, is usually caused by a buildup of deposits in the mesenteric arteries, which slows blood flow through the small intestine. Signs and symptoms may include:

    • Abdominal cramps or fullness, beginning about 30 minutes after eating and lasting for one to three hours

    • Abdominal pain that gets progressively worse over weeks or months

    • Unintended weight loss

    • Nausea

    • Bloating

    Intestinal ischemia due to mesenteric venous thrombosis is caused by a blood clot blocking a vein in the intestines. Signs and symptoms include:

    • Abdominal pain

    • Nausea and vomiting

    • Blood in your stool

  • Abdominal pain

  • Nausea

  • vomiting

  • Causes

    The aorta is the large artery that supplies your body's vessels with oxygen-rich blood pumped by your heart. The portion of the aorta extending below your heart into your abdomen is the abdominal aorta. Three arteries branching off the abdominal aorta supply almost all of the blood to your digestive tract. These arteries are the:

    • Celiac artery

    • Superior mesenteric artery

    • Inferior mesenteric artery

    When the flow of blood through these arteries or their adjacent draining veins is altered, whether the change is acute or chronic, intestinal ischemia results.

    Like other arteries in the body, any or all of the arteries that serve your digestive tract may be affected by atherosclerosis. Atherosclerotic buildup can progressively reduce blood flow to your small intestine, your large intestine or both.

  • atherosclerosis

  • Sometimes intestinal ischemia occurs because a portion of your intestine becomes trapped due to a hernia or adhesions from a previous abdominal surgery. Other times it occurs because of heart failure or low blood pressure. Most of the time, it is due to a blood clot which forms in your heart and then travels to one of your intestinal arteries. Causes can vary depending on the type of intestinal ischemia you have, but may include:

    Colon ischemia

    • A hernia

    • Scar tissue from previous surgeries

    • A blood clot

    • Some medications, especially those that constrict blood vessels, such as some heart or migraine medications

    • Other medical disorders, such as lupus or sickle cell anemia

    Acute mesenteric artery ischemia

    • A blood clot

    • Congestive heart failure, which can result in a blood clot

    • An irregular heartbeat, which can cause a blood clot

    • A heart attack, which can result in a blood clot

    • Low blood pressure

    • Aortic dissection, a partial tear in the main artery from the heart (aorta), which causes a separation of the layers of the aortic wall and bleeding into and along the wall of the aorta

    Chronic mesenteric ischemia
    This type of intestinal ischemia results from atherosclerosis.

  • atherosclerosis

  • Ischemia due to mesenteric venous thrombosis

    • A blood clot

    • Deep vein thrombosis, a blood clot in the deep veins of your body, most commonly in your leg

    • Bowel diseases, such as inflammatory bowel disease or diverticulitis, which may cause the development of a blood clot

    • Trauma to the abdomen, which can result in a blood clot

    • Hormone therapy, which can cause a blood clot or deep vein thrombosis

    Mesenteric ischemia > 1 > 2 > 3 > 4 >

    Ask The Doctor

    Related Site:

  • Anal itch
  • Appendicitis
  • Celiac disease
  • Cirrhosis
  • Colon polyps
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Diverticulitis
  • Fecal incontinence
  • Gallstones
  • Gas and gas pains
  • Gastritis
  • Gastroenteritis
  • Heartburn/GERD
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Hepatitis C
  • Hiatal hernia
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Mesenteric ischemia
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Jaundice in newborns
  • Nonulcer dyspepsia (indigestion)
  • Pancreatitis
  • Peptic ulcer
  • Reye's syndrome
  • Traveler's diarrhea
  • Wilson's disease
  • Zollinger-Ellison syndrome
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    Disclaimer

    This information is provided for general medical education purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the independent medical judgment of a physician relative to diagnostic and treatment options of a specific patient's medical condition.
    In no event will The Integrated Medical Clinic be liable for any decision made or action taken in reliance upon the information provided through this web site.

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    Last Modified : 10/01/06 04:31 AM