ACR Appropriateness Criteria ® imaging of mesenteric ischemia.
Mesenteric ischemia is a rare disease associated with high morbidity and mortality. Acute mesenteric ischemia is most commonly secondary to embolism followed by arterial thrombosis, nonocclusive ischemia, and less commonly venous thrombosis. Chronic mesenteric ischemia is almost always caused by atherosclerotic disease, with rare causes including fibromuscular dysplasia and vasculitis. The American College of Radiology Appropriateness Criteria are evidence-based guidelines for specific clinical conditions that are reviewed every 2 years by a multidisciplinary expert panel. The guideline development and review include an extensive analysis of current medical literature from peer reviewed journals and the application of a well-established consensus methodology (modified Delphi) to rate the appropriateness of imaging and treatment procedures by the panel. In those instances where evidence is lacking or not definitive, expert opinion may be used to recommend imaging or treatment. Patients with mesenteric ischemia usually present with nonspecific abdominal symptoms and laboratory findings. This document evaluates and rates the appropriateness of imaging to evaluate patients with clinically suspected mesenteric ischemia. While catheter-based angiography has been considered the reference standard and enables diagnosis and treatment, advances in computed tomography have made it a first-line test in many patients because it is a fast, widely available, and noninvasive study. Abdominal radiographs and ultrasound have a limited role in diagnosing mesenteric ischemia but are commonly the first ordered tests in patients with abdominal pain and may diagnose more common pathologies.
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