Your doctor might suspect that you have chronic mesenteric ischemia if you have pain after eating that causes you to limit food and lose weight. A narrowing of the major arteries to the small intestine can help confirm the diagnosis.

Tests might include:

  • Angiography. Your doctor might recommend a CT scan, MRI or X-ray of your abdomen to determine if the arteries to your small intestine have narrowed. Adding a contrast dye (mesenteric angiogram, CT angiography or magnetic resonance angiography) can help pinpoint the narrowing.
  • Doppler ultrasound. This noninvasive test uses sound waves to estimate blood flow, which can determine narrowing of the arteries.


If a blood clot causes a sudden loss of blood flow to the small intestine, you might require immediate surgery to treat your mesenteric ischemia. Mesenteric ischemia that develops over time might be treated with a procedure that uses a balloon to open the narrowed area.

A mesh tube (stent) might be placed in the narrowed area. Mesenteric ischemia can also be treated via open surgery through an incision.

Clinical trials

Explore Mayo Clinic studies testing new treatments, interventions and tests as a means to prevent, detect, treat or manage this condition.

Mesenteric ischemia care at Mayo Clinic

June 22, 2021
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  3. Acute mesenteric ischemia. Merck Manual Professional Version. https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/gastrointestinal-disorders/acute-abdomen-and-surgical-gastroenterology/acute-mesenteric-ischemia. Accessed April 14, 2021.
  4. Kolkman JJ, et al. Diagnosis and treatment of chronic mesenteric ischemia: An update. Best Practice & Research Clinical Gastroenterology. 2017;31:49.
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  7. Morrow ES. Allscripts EPSi. Mayo Clinic. April 14, 2021.