Learn About Mesenteric Artery Ischemia

What is the definition of Mesenteric Artery Ischemia?

Mesenteric artery ischemia occurs when there is a narrowing or blockage of one or more of the three major arteries that supply the small and large intestines. These are called the mesenteric arteries.

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What are the alternative names for Mesenteric Artery Ischemia?

Mesenteric vascular disease; Ischemic colitis; Ischemic bowel - mesenteric; Dead bowel - mesenteric; Dead gut - mesenteric; Atherosclerosis - mesenteric artery; Hardening of the arteries - mesenteric artery

What are the causes of Mesenteric Artery Ischemia?

The arteries that supply blood to the intestines run directly from the aorta. The aorta is the main artery from the heart.

Hardening of the arteries occurs when fat, cholesterol, and other substances build up in the walls of arteries. This is more common in smokers and in people with high blood pressure or high blood cholesterol.

This narrows the blood vessels and reduces blood flow to the intestines. Like every other part of the body, blood brings oxygen to the intestines. When the oxygen supply is slowed, symptoms may occur.

The blood supply to the intestines may be suddenly blocked by a blood clot (embolus). The clots most often come from the heart or aorta. These clots are more commonly seen in people with abnormal heart rhythm.

What are the symptoms of Mesenteric Artery Ischemia?

Symptoms caused by gradual hardening of the mesenteric arteries include:

  • Abdominal pain after eating
  • Diarrhea

Symptoms of sudden (acute) mesenteric artery ischemia due to a traveling blood clot include:

  • Sudden severe abdominal pain or bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Nausea
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What are the current treatments for Mesenteric Artery Ischemia?

When blood supply is blocked to a part of the heart muscle, the muscle will die. This is called a heart attack. A similar type of injury can occur to any part of the intestines.

When the blood supply is suddenly cut off by a blood clot, it is an emergency. Treatment can include medicines to dissolve the blood clots and open up the arteries.

If you have symptoms due to hardening of the mesenteric arteries, there are things you can do to control the problem:

  • Stop smoking. Smoking narrows the arteries. This decreases the ability of the blood to carry oxygen and increases the risk of forming clots (thrombi and emboli).
  • Make sure your blood pressure is under control.
  • If you are overweight, reduce your weight.
  • If your cholesterol is high, eat a low-cholesterol and low-fat diet.
  • Monitor your blood sugar level if you have diabetes, and keep it under control.

Surgery may be done if the problem is severe.

  • The blockage is removed and the arteries are reconnected to the aorta. A bypass around the blockage is another procedure. It is usually done with a plastic tube graft.
  • Insertion of a stent. A stent may be used as an alternative to surgery to enlarge the blockage in the artery or to deliver medicine directly to the affected area. This is a new technique and it should only be done by experienced health care providers. The outcome is usually better with surgery.
  • At times, a portion of your intestine will need to be removed.
Who are the top Mesenteric Artery Ischemia Local Doctors?
Highly rated in

Montefiore Health System

Montefiore Medical Center

111 E 210th St 
The Bronx, NY 10467

Lawrence Brandt is a Gastroenterologist in The Bronx, New York. Dr. Brandt has been practicing medicine for over 54 years and is rated as an Elite doctor by MediFind in the treatment of Mesenteric Artery Ischemia. He is also highly rated in 9 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Mesenteric Artery Ischemia, Pseudomembranous Colitis, Diarrhea, and Colitis. He is board certified in Gastroenterology and licensed to treat patients in New York. Dr. Brandt is currently accepting new patients.

Highly rated in


Memorial Health Systems Inc

901 Sterthaus Dr 
Ormond Beach, FL 32174

Muhammed Sherid is a Gastroenterologist in Ormond Beach, Florida. Dr. Sherid has been practicing medicine for over 23 years and is rated as an Elite doctor by MediFind in the treatment of Mesenteric Artery Ischemia. He is also highly rated in 6 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Mesenteric Artery Ischemia, Gastrointestinal Bleeding, Diarrhea, and Trichohepatoenteric Syndrome. He is board certified in Gastroenterology and licensed to treat patients in Maine and Illinois. Dr. Sherid is currently accepting new patients.

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Highly rated in


A. Cardarelli St. 9 
Naples, IT 80131

Francesca Iacobellis is in Naples, Italy. Iacobellis is rated as an Elite expert by MediFind in the treatment of Mesenteric Artery Ischemia. She is also highly rated in 3 other conditions, according to our data. Her top areas of expertise are Mesenteric Artery Ischemia, Anal Fissure, Gastrointestinal Perforation, and Anorectal Abscess.

What is the outlook (prognosis) for Mesenteric Artery Ischemia?

The outlook for chronic mesenteric ischemia is good after a successful surgery. However, it is important to make lifestyle changes to prevent hardening of the arteries from getting worse.

People with hardening of the arteries that supply the intestines often have the same problems in blood vessels that supply the heart, brain, kidneys, or legs.

People with acute mesenteric ischemia often do poorly because parts of the intestine may die before surgery can be done. This can be fatal. However, with prompt diagnosis and treatment, acute mesenteric ischemia can be treated successfully.

What are the possible complications of Mesenteric Artery Ischemia?

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

When should I contact a medical professional for Mesenteric Artery Ischemia?

Call your provider if you have:

  • Changes in bowel habits
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
How do I prevent Mesenteric Artery Ischemia?

The following lifestyle changes can reduce your risk for narrowing of the arteries:

  • Get regular exercise.
  • Follow a healthy diet.
  • Get heart rhythm problems treated.
  • Keep your blood cholesterol and blood sugar under control.
  • Quit smoking.
Mesenteric artery ischemia and infarction
What are the latest Mesenteric Artery Ischemia Clinical Trials?
Incidence of Neutropenic Enterocolitis Study in Acute Myeloid Leukemia Patients During Intensive Therapy (DECLAM).
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What are the Latest Advances for Mesenteric Artery Ischemia?
The differential diagnosis of ulcerative colitis versus angiodysplasia of the colon with ischemic colitis.
Rare Clinical Association between Clostridioides difficile Infection and Ischemic Colitis: Case Report and Literature Review.
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Population-Based Study of the Clinical Characteristics and Risk Factors of Ischemic Colitis.
Who are the sources who wrote this article ?

Published Date : January 14, 2020
Published By : Michael M. Phillips, MD, Clinical Professor of Medicine, The George Washington University School of Medicine, Washington, DC. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

What are the references for this article ?

Holscher CM, Reifsnyder T. Acute mesenteric ischemia. In: Cameron AM, Cameron JL, eds. Current Surgical Therapy. 13th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:1057-1061.

Kahi CJ. Vascular diseases of the gastrointestinal tract. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 134.

Lo RC, Schermerhorn ML. Mesenteric arterial disease: epidemiology, pathophysiology, and clinical evaluation. In: Sidawy AN, Perler BA, eds. Rutherford's Vascular Surgery and Endovascular Therapy. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 131.