Mesenteric ischaemia is a condition characterised by abdominal pain caused by inadequate blood flow through the arteries supplying the gut (splanchnic arteries). Blockage (occlusion) or severe narrowing (stenosis) of the splanchnic arteries is the most common cause with symptoms typically occurring when at least two of the three main gut arteries (coeliac trunk, superior mesenteric artery & inferior mesenteric artery) are affected and include: severe pain in the abdomen following eating (post-prandial pain) with or without diarrhoea, unexpected weight loss and a reluctance to eat due to fear of subsequent abdominal pain (sitophobia).
The diagnosis is typically made following the exclusion of other commoner causes of abdominal pain with CT or MRI scans typically used to identify the affected arteries. Early intervention is advised to prevent the debilitating sequelae of this illness. Minimally invasive treatments tend to be favoured e.g. balloon angioplasty with or without stent insertion, however some patients may require open surgical reconstruction.