Diagnosis of mesenteric ischemia begins with a physical exam, a medical and family history and blood tests. Your doctor will ask you questions about your symptoms. You may also need an evaluation by a gastroenterologist.
As part of the diagnosis, doctors who specialize in the interpretation of medical images (radiologists) will perform tests to rule out other conditions and evaluate blood flow, including:
- Endoscopy. During an endoscopy, your doctor inserts a catheter with a tiny camera on the tip (endoscope) into your mouth and guides the endoscope through your upper digestive system. An endoscopy helps your doctor determine if conditions such as ulcers or inflammation cause your stomach pain.
- Colonoscopy. Your doctor inserts a catheter with an endoscope into your rectum to view your colon.
- Ultrasound. High-frequency sound waves help your doctor see images of your blood vessels. Ultrasound also can be used to evaluate your liver, gallbladder and pancreas.
- CT scan. A CT scan uses X-rays to create detailed images of your arteries and of some organs.
- Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA). Magnetic fields and radio waves produce detailed images of your blood vessels.
- Angiogram. A mesenteric angiogram is the standard test for evaluating blood flow and finding the blockage. In this test, your doctor guides a thin, flexible tube (catheter) through the artery and inserts a dye to make the artery visible on an X-ray. Sometimes the doctor can treat the blocked arteries with a balloon angioplasty or stent during the angiogram.
- X-ray. X-rays use radiation to create images of your internal organs. Your doctor may give you a barium solution to improve the images of your intestines.
Read more about endoscopy, colonoscopy, ultrasound, CT scan, and X-ray at MayoClinic.com.