Search Our Website

Chronic Mesenteric Ischemia

What is Chronic Mesenteric Ischemia?

Ischemia is when blood flow through your arteries does not occur as it should, limiting blood supply. The blood vessels that supply your intestines are called the mesenteric arteries. Mesenteric ischemia means that the intestines (and possibly other intra-abdominal organs such as the colon, liver, and stomach) do not receive the blood flow they need. This is typically because of blockages or narrowing of the blood vessels due to plaque or hardening of the arteries. Many conditions may lead to chronic mesenteric ischemia, including:

  • Low blood pressure
  • Occlusion or blockage of the veins in the bowels
  • Congestive heart failure
  • A tear in the aorta’s inner layer (aortic dissection)
  • Rare blood vessel disorders
  • Coagulation disorders
  • Blood clots

Mesenteric ischemia can be chronic, meaning it has developed and remained over a long period of time, or acute, meaning it comes on suddenly and has serious implications. Chronic ischemia may also become acute, quickly and without warning. In either case, it can deprive your intestines and nearby organs of the oxygen and nutrients they need, causing tissue death.

Symptoms and Risk Factors

Mesenteric ischemia typically occurs in people over 60, as well as people who smoke or have high cholesterol. Chronic mesenteric ischemia typically causes symptoms such as severe abdominal pain after eating. This usually occurs within 15 to 60 minutes and occurs in the upper part of the abdomen, although it may occur in any part. It may subside after 60 to 90 minutes before reappearing the next time you eat. Because of this, many people with chronic mesenteric ischemia experience weight loss due to avoiding pain by not eating.

Other symptoms can be vague and similar to other conditions. For example, you might experience:

  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Flatulence
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Symptoms of acute mesenteric ischemia typically include sudden, severe pain that is not fully alleviated even with narcotic pain medications. Nausea and vomiting are also common.

“Dr. Julien and his people are the most cohesive, personable and professional I’ve ever come across. From the time I walk in to when I leave I feel like they care about me. The result is good healing.”

– James R.

“Dr. Julien and his people are the most cohesive, personable and professional I’ve ever come across. From the time I walk in to when I leave I feel like they care about me. The result is good healing.”

– Josh R.

“Staff is awesome! Extremely knowledgeable & professional. They explained every step to me and spent plenty of time to answer my questions.”

– Anthony P.

“I was referred to Dr. W. Julian by my PCP and very happy that I was. Dr. Julian found a clogged artery that could have been life threatening if left untreated. My experience from consult to discharge was met courtesy, warmth and professionalism which helped me through my procedure. Sean greeted me and my son who explained the whole process and what to expect. I was also looked after by Josh, Jackie and Reuben who could not have been more supportive or communicative through this adventure.”

– Lorette K.

“The whole staff were very professional and very helpful in navigating me through every procedure, treatments and follow ups. I would certainly recommend South Florida Vascular Associates.”

– Don S.

“I have been very impressed by the way this office functions. Each and every person I’ve encountered has been very personable and professional. I’ve had minimal wait times before being seen. The tests I’ve had were done efficiently and results explained to me quickly. I would highly recommend this office.”

– Robert G.

“All of the staff were friendly, courteous, and professional. Examination and consultation were thorough and expedited in a timely manner. I felt relaxed throughout the visit and all my medical questions and concerns were met and answered to my satisfaction. Would recommend this office to anyone seeking vascular care.”

– Felix G.

“I highly recommend this office for any vascular procedure you may need. The staff are awesome. They were very considerate and professional. My procedures were all a success and I am very happy with the end result. Top marks on everything.”

– Todd H.

Read More Testimonials

How is Chronic Mesenteric Ischemia Diagnosed?

Mesenteric ischemia is typically diagnosed by performing a specialized X-ray imaging procedure. It involves injecting a specialized dye into the blood vessels which will show up on X-rays. A CT scan or abdominal ultrasound may also be used. Once our providers have a clear image of the blockage, they will discuss the next steps for treatment.

Chronic Mesenteric Ischemia Treatment Options

Chronic mesenteric ischemia can be treated by a state-of-the-art, minimally-invasive procedure called an angioplasty and stenting. It involves a small incision in the groin using local anesthesia, through which a balloon-tipped instrument is threaded to the area of blockage. This widens up the artery and restores blood flow. A stent may also be placed, which is a tiny “scaffold” that keeps the artery open. Afterward, healthy blood flow is restored. We perform this procedure at our comfortable outpatient suite here at South Florida Vascular Associates.

Schedule a Consultation

To meet with our providers and explore your treatment options for mesenteric ischemia, contact our Southeast Florida locations serving Coconut Creek, Boynton Beach, and Plantation. Call or contact us online to get started.


William Julien, MD

Board-Certified Vascular Interventional Physician


Mana Khatkar, PA-C

Certified Physician Assistant


Anissa Rodriguez, NP-C

Certified Nurse Practitioner