Mesenteric Artery Stenosis is the narrowing of the arteries that supplies the blood to the intestines, known as the mesenteric arteries.
The main cause of Mesenteric Artery Stenosis is hardening of the arteries, atherosclerosis, or the build-up of fatty deposits called plaque in the arteries which reduces the amount of blood flow to the intestines.
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The number one risk factor for all cardiovascular diseases is SMOKING, followed by family history, high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, advancing age, obesity, and an inactive lifestyle.
Many times, patients do not present with symptoms. If the narrowing progresses and worsens, symptoms may appear. If the blood flow becomes blocked or the flow is limited, resulting in belly pain that will not go away, this is a symptom not to be ignored, but needing immediate medical attention.
The medical provider will start out with a complete history and physical, followed by appropriate lab work and testing. If the information from the results indicates a potential issue, the providers will order a test to check your arteries.
For many who have no symptoms, treatment can be suspended until the condition worsens. Simple things such as adopting a heart-healthy lifestyle, including incorporating the right foods and exercise into your daily routine, can make a difference. If, however, things get worse, a balloon angioplasty or stenting may be the procedure your surgeon will suggest. This is a minimally invasive procedure that uses the balloon to open the pathway for the blood to flow more freely.
Follow the instructions from your medical care team. Take appropriate medications that are prescribed. Adopt a heart-healthy lifestyle along with an exercise program to keep active. Finally, manage your chronic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
Imaging tests such as duplex ultrasound, angiography, MRI, or CT scan are the traditional tests to check for disease.
Patients feel abdominal pain after eating, become full quickly with small meals, experience frequent diarrhea with bowel evacuation urgency, as well as, unintentional weight loss. Some patients can experience severe abdominal pain along with vomiting, dizziness, and low blood pressure. This may require an emergency procedure.
Every situation is unique, and after the clinical exam and diagnostic testing, an endovascular or surgical plan is created. Fortunately, a minimally invasive approach is the most common recommendation. The procedure is completed by placing a small metallic stent within the mesenteric artery, which opens the blood flow to the intestinal circulation. If the stent cannot be placed, a surgical bypass can be created, which is considered a major, often life-saving operation.