What is Acute Mesenteric Ischemia
Acute mesenteric ischemia is a sudden restriction in blood supply to the intestines. This can be a life-threatening condition.
What are the causes?
The condition may develop if something blocks a blood vessel that supports the intestines or causes it to narrow. It may also develop if blood flow to the intestines is reduced. Common causes of this condition include:
- A blood clot.
- Low blood pressure.
- Heart disease.
- Narrowing of the arteries from blood vessel (vascular) disease.
- Certain illegal and prescription drugs, such as cocaine or digoxin.
What increases the risk?
This condition is more likely to develop in:
- People who are over the age of 50 years.
- People who have a history of coronary or vascular disease.
- People who have an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia).
- People who smoke.
What are the signs or symptoms?
Symptoms of this condition include:
- Sudden, severe abdominal pain or bloating.
- Blood in the stool.
- Diarrhea that may be bloody.
How is this diagnosed?
This condition may be diagnosed with:
- A medical history.
- A physical exam.
- A surgical procedure to examine the organs inside the abdomen (exploratory laparotomy).
- CT scans.
- Blood tests.
- Angiogram. This imaging test uses a dye to obtain a picture of blood flow to the intestine.
How is this treated?
This condition is almost always treated with an emergency surgery to correct the problem or with a procedure that uses medicines to break up the clot.