Diagnosis

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.

Treatment

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.