Management of chronic atherosclerotic mesenteric ischemia.
Chronic mesenteric ischemia (CMI) is most likely caused by atherosclerosis and less frequently by external compression, fibromuscular dysplasia and vasculitis. Symptomatic CMI is an uncommon, potentially under-diagnosed condition caused by fixed stenoses or occlusion of in most conditions at least two visceral arteries. If only one of the three major bowel providing arteries - the celiac trunk, the superior and inferior mesenteric arteries - is affected, the patient is usually asymptomatic due to a tight collateral network. Symptoms and clinical signs of CMI may vary from the classical triad of postprandial pain, weight loss and upper abdominal bruit to nonspecific symptoms thus frequently resulting in delayed diagnosis. Established non-invasive diagnostic means are duplex ultrasound or CT- and MR-angiography offering excellent three dimensional reconstruction of the vessel pathology facilitating the decision for the appropriate revascularisation strategy. During the last decade, despite higher restenosis rates endovascular revascularization has replaced surgical revascularization as therapy of choice in most centers. If untreated CMI of atherosclerotic origin is associated with a high morbidity and mortality. This manuscript reviews the most relevant clinical aspects of the disease and the current practice of diagnosis and treatment of CMI.
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