Acute and Chronic Mesenteric Ischemia


What is Mesenteric Ischemia?

Mesenteric Ischemia is a medical term that combines mesenteric and ischemia. Mesenteric, anatomically speaking, is an artery which is known to supply blood in your stomach as well as your large and small intestines. Meanwhile, ischemia is a term given when there is no blood flow especially in your arteries and when a person’s intestines do not have an adequate supply of oxygen which it needs for digestion.

mesenteric ischemia


Mesenteric Ischemia is otherwise known as Mesenteric Artery Ischemia. It more commonly affects the small intestines rather than the large intestines. Statistically speaking, this often occurs in persons age 60 years and above and males are often triggered by this kind of medical condition.

The presence of blood clots in the mesenteric vein can lead to necrosis of the small intestine that is supplied by the particular blood vessel.

There are two classes of mesenteric ischemia which are acute and chronic. Either of the two classes can bring about health problems. Hence, the need for medical assistance.


Acute Mesenteric Ischemia

Acute Mesenteric Ischemia occurs when there is a presence of a sudden blockage on the part of the blood flow area of the person’s intestines which eventually leads to puncture and gangrene. It is brought about by several etiological reasons such as either the presence of a blood clot, arterial emboli, low output of the heart, and side effects of certain medications which leads to narrowing of the person’s blood vessels especially in the intestinal region. We will discuss the reported symptoms and how to treat persons with acute form of mesenteric ischemia.

Acute Mesenteric Ischemia Symptoms

The persons with acute Mesenteric Ischemia usually report of the following symptoms:

  • Sudden severe pain in the abdomen
  • Tenderness of the abdomen
  • Presence of blood in one’s stool
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Frequent bowel movements
  • Vomiting
  • Urgency in bowel movement

The thing that differentiates acute mesenteric ischemia from chronic mesenteric ischemia is that the symptoms appear suddenly. Hence, there is a need to act fast to prevent further damaging of the mesenteric arteries in your intestines.

Acute Mesenteric Ischemia Treatment

Since the acute mesenteric ischemia happens suddenly, the persons suffering from acute mesenteric ischemia needs to have an emergency kind of treatment due to severe kind of intestinal damage which occurs in a rapid manner. The goal for the treatment of acute mesenteric ischemia is the dilation of the blood vessels, dissolution of the clots, and prevention of blot clots. The following are the suggested treatment for acute mesenteric ischemia:

Angiography – This is a diagnostic treatment procedure for persons suffering from acute form of mesenteric ischemia.

Angioplasty – This surgical procedure uses a catheter to remove the blood clots present.

Embolectomy – This surgical procedure involves the removal of the embolus.


Resectioning – This is another surgical procedure which involves resectioning of the damaged part to another undamaged part.

Vasodilator therapy – This is a medical classification or a drug where its action is preventing and dissolving the blood clot. The important note in treating acute mesenteric ischemia is that the mortality is high compared to the chronic mesenteric ischemia. Early diagnosis will provide a good prognosis compared to that of the late diagnosis. One thing is certain, the life of a person will be greatly affected if the small intestines goes necrosis or dies or is removed. Hence, treatment is a very important in persons suffering from acute mesenteric ischemia.

Chronic Mesenteric Ischemia

Meanwhile, the chronic mesenteric ischemia is otherwise known as intestinal angina which refers to constant or episodes of intestinal lower blood flow. This is a rare kind of mesenteric ischemia. The prevalent etiological reason of why chronic mesenteric ischemia happens to a person is that of the presence of atherosclerosis. We will define thoroughly the symptoms and treatments associated with chronic mesenteric ischemia.

Chronic Mesenteric Ischemia Symptoms

Persons who suffer from chronic mesenteric ischemia will experience the following symptoms:

  • Fear of food
  • Weight loss
  • Postprandial kind of pain in the abdomen region
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal fullness
  • Bloating episodes
  • Flatulence

Persons who suffer from chronic mesenteric ischemia are generally ages 60 years and above. It is more frequently seen in women than in men. The difference between chronicmesenteric ischemia from that of acute mesenteric ischemia is that the symptoms appear and are experienced in a gradual manner.

Chronic Mesenteric Ischemia Treatment

The goal of treatment of chronic mesenteric ischemia is to restore the blood flow to the person’s intestines. Chronic mesenteric ischemia patients are required and suggested to go through what is called as the definitive treatment for the risk of acute infarction, sepsis, perforation, weight loss and death is high. Medical treatments are given to persons who are not fit for the treatments suggested which is either endovascular or surgical in nature. The following are treatments suggested to chronic mesenteric ischemia:

Trans aortic endartectomy – This is a rare kind of surgical procedure which deals with the removal of plaques which is the reason why there is a presence of blockage in the mesenteric artery.

Bypass surgical procedure – This is another effective surgical procedure wherein the surgeon will make a detour around the blocked or narrowed arterial section. It is otherwise known as Resectioning surgical procedure.

Stenting and Angioplasty – This is a new method of surgical procedure which deals with the opening of the artery, particularly the mesenteric artery, and allowing blood flow. This kind of surgical procedure can be done side by side with angioplasty procedure.

A surgical procedure showing gangrenous small intestines – As always, there is always risk in every surgical procedure. Trust that the surgeon that is experienced and able to advise which of the procedures is best to perform for eachparticular kind of situation. The decision lies in the surgeon’s hands and his expertise in performing the surgical procedure.


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