Mesenteric Ischemia

1 What is Mesenteric Ischemia?

A condition caused by poor blood supply to your intestines which affect the colon and small intestine and other organs in the digestive system is called Mesenteric ischemia. It may be chronic or acute.

A result of blockage to the flow of oxygen-rich blood is called acute mesenteric while the narrowing in one or more of the arteries supplying blood to your intestines or visceral arteries is called chronic mesenteric.

In acute mesenteric, experience in sudden abdominal pain and body stools and can damage your intestines permanently.

In chronic mesenteric, you may feel pain for about 1-2 hours after eating that may lead to weight loss because of having a hard time eating and there will be changes in bowel movements, vomiting, nausea and feeling of bloating.

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2 Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of mesenteric ischemia may vary. Mesenteric ischemia can be an ongoing health issue.

It may include vomiting, flatulence or diarrhea, abdominal pain in which can be moderate to severe pain in acute mesenteric while in chronic it may be severe pain that last 15-60 minutes after eating for up to 2 hours, increase in heart rate, nausea and constipation.

3 Causes

Acute mesenteric ischemia (AMI) is a syndrome caused by inadequate blood flow through the mesenteric vessels, resulting in ischemia and eventual gangrene of the bowel wall.

A blood clot is a common cause of acute mesenteric while travelling to one of the mesenteric arteries it will suddenly block the blood flow and the origin is usually in the heart, most common with patients who have heart diseases.

Atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries is the cause of chronic mesenteric that slows the amount of blood flowing in our arteries, plaque will build up and eventually block the arteries.

4 Making a Diagnosis

If you are bothered by the symptoms pf mesenteric ischemia, make an appointment with your doctor to receive a diagnosis.

Write down the things that you want to ask your doctor. Bring a friend or family with you. Bring a notebook.

You can ask these questions:

  • What is the cause of this disease?
  • Are there treatments for this disease?

Write down the lists of medications, supplements and vitamins that you are taking, also, the symptoms that you are experiencing.

Your doctor may ask you:

  • What are the symptoms that you’ve experienced?
  • For how long are you experiencing these symptoms?
  • Are you smoking?
  • Do you have a high blood pressure?
  • Does anyone in your family have high blood pressure?
  • Do you have diabetes?
  • Does anyone in your family have diabetes?
  • Do you have a heart disease? Does anyone in your family have heart disease? 

Your doctor may perform some test such as:

  • Angiogram also is known as arteriogram that uses X-rays to view the blood vessels in your body.
  • CT or computed tomography scan which you can see three-dimensional images and cross-section of your body, it can also see the problems in your abdominal organs and arteries.
  • Doppler ultrasound.

5 Treatment

Treatments for mesenteric ischemia include:

  • Angiogram.
  • Papaverine for the decrease of arterial vasospasm.
  • Tube decompression.
  • Heparin anticoagulation.
  • Thrombolytic therapy.
  • Narcotic pain medications.
  • Bypass surgery.

6 Prevention

To prevent mesenteric ischemia follow some of these steps:

  • Have a healthy diet.
  • Do not smoke.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Have enough sleep.
  • Stay hydrated.

7 Lifestyle and Coping

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is the best way to cope with mesenteric ischemia:

  • eat nutritious foods like fruits and vegetables,
  • quit smoking,
  • exercise regularly,
  • drink plenty of water,
  • manage chronic medical conditions like kidney failure, diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure.

8 Risks and Complications

Ask your doctor what you can do to reduce the risk and complications of mesenteric ischemia.

You may be at risk for blood-clotting, heart and blood pressures, building up of fatty deposits in your arteries.