Mesenteric Artery Disease Treatment

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Losing weight? Feeling pain in your belly after a meal? These could be signs of mesenteric artery disease. If you have it, your intestines aren't getting enough blood. That can cause vomiting, pain, diarrhea, and weight loss.

Mesenteric artery disease happens when atherosclerosis (a build-up of fat and other stuff in your arteries that can plug them) causes a narrowing or blockage in any of the 3 arteries that carry blood to your large and small intestines (called mesenteric arteries).

Without treatment, the disease can cause abdominal pain after eating and progressive weight loss. If the blood flow to the intestines becomes severely blocked, the intestines can die.

Diagnosis & Treatment at UVA Health

We can check if you have mesenteric arterial disease by using these tests:

  • Blood tests
  • Ultrasound
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan
  • Computed tomography (CT) scan
  • Angiography

We can work with you to choose an appropriate treatment. 

Angioplasty or Minimally Invasive Stenting

At UVA Heath, we've done angioplasty and stenting procedures for more than 25 years. During angioplasty, your doctor puts a needle into your artery and passes a wire through the needle and into the blocked artery. This is done without surgery.

Surgical Bypass or Removal of the Blockage

You may need surgery if the blockage is too severe to treate with a balloon or stent. Surgery can remove the blockage or place a graft (a vein taken from elsewhere in your body, or made from plastic) to go around (bypass) the blockage.

Blood Clot Removal

Medication may dissolve a blood clot. A device can also be used to take out the clot with surgery.

Combination Therapy

We can treat you with a combination of angioplasty, stenting, and surgery.