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Mesenteric Artery Stenosis Overview

Mesenteric Artery Stenosis is the narrowing of the arteries that supplies the blood to the intestines, known as the mesenteric arteries.

Mesenteric Artery Stenosis Causes

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.

You Have a Choice When It Comes to Vascular Care.
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You Have a Choice When It Comes to Vascular Care.
Get an Appointment at VIC In 3 to 5 Days – Without a Referral!

Mesenteric Artery Stenosis Risk Factors & Symptoms

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.

  • Progressive weight loss
  • Belly pain after eating
  • Sensation of being full after minimal food intake
  • Nausea, rectal bleeding, or diarrhea
woman clutching stomach from pain associated with Mesenteric Artery Stenosis

Mesenteric Artery Stenosis Diagnosis

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.

  • Duplex Ultrasound – This is a non-invasive test, where sound waves are used to detect the amount of blood flow through the vessels.
  • CT Angiogram – This test uses a special dye and X-rays to allow for more detailed images/pictures of the arteries.
  • MRI angiogram – This procedure will use a magnetic field and radio waves to take pictures of the mesenteric arteries.
  • Catheter Angiogram – X-rays are used to get pictures of the blood flow in the vessels and arteries.

Mesenteric Artery Stenosis Treatment

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.

Mesenteric Artery Stenosis Prevention

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.

healthy food, exercise equipment, and managing diabetes for a heart healthy lifestyle

Mesenteric Artery Stenosis Progression

Oftentimes PAD patients are able to manage their disease with lifestyle changes and with the addition of medication to their daily routine. Mesenteric artery stenosis is different, often diagnosed only when symptoms present, and requires intervention. A minimally invasive endovascular stent procedure may be required to help restore the flow of blood supply to the intestines and relieve symptoms.


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.


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