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Mesenteric Ischemia


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Your small intestine receives blood from the mesenteric artery. If this artery becomes blocked or narrowed in condition called mesenteric ischemia, it can restrict blood flow to your intestine, causing permanent damage.

Risk Factors

You may be at a higher risk for mesenteric ischemia if you:

  • Smoke
  • Have atherosclerosis (build-up of plaque in your blood vessels)
  • Are older than age 50
  • Use illegal drugs
  • Have heart problems, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) or blood clotting conditions


You can experience acute or chronic mesenteric ischemia. Acute mesenteric ischemia occurs suddenly when a blood clot blocks the artery. Symptoms include:

  • Sudden and severe abdominal pain
  • Fever
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Urgent need to empty your bowels

If not treated quickly, acute mesenteric ischemia may result in sepsis (a severe infection), permanent damage or even death.

Chronic mesenteric ischemia develops slowly over time as the blood vessel narrows. If you have this condition, you may experience abdominal pain after eating that gets worse over an hour and lasts up to three hours. Over time, you may lose weight and experience malnutrition.

At the University of Miami Health System, we provide both minimally invasive and open procedures to restore blood flow to the small intestine and prevent serious complications.


Angiography uses X-rays or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology to create pictures of blood flow in your intestines.

Vascular Ultrasound
In this test, an ultrasound wand uses sound waves to create an image of the blood flowing through your abdomen to identify any blockages.


Mesenteric Stent
In this minimally invasive procedure, your physician creates a small incision in your groin. They then guide a thin tube (catheter) up to where your blood vessel is narrowed. They can then pass a mesh tube (stent) through the catheter and place it in your blood vessel. This helps widen the blood vessel and keep it open.

Mesenteric Bypass
Mesenteric bypass involves create an incision in your abdomen. Your surgeon will then attach a vein taken from your leg or an artificial vein to the blocked artery. The vein allows blood to flow around the blocked or narrowed area, restoring blood flow to your intestine.

Why Choose UHealth?

Advanced, hard-to-find procedures. Our doctors are committed to caring for every patient. That’s why they offer the latest treatments, including limb salvage, endovascular grafting and thoracic outlet decompression, to improve your blood flow.

All the care you need, from one physician. Our vascular surgeons perform a wide range of procedures so you can have the same physician for any vascular care you need as your condition changes. Whether you need a stent replaced or a vein grafted, you can always turn to the doctor you trust.

Experienced doctors, reliable results. UHealth vascular surgeons perform hundreds of stent placements, angiograms and aneurysm repairs  every year. You can rely on their experience to help you avoid complications and have a positive outcome.

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