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Stenting Abdominal Arteries Relieves 'Intestinal Angina'

Left untreated, the condition can lead to nausea, weight loss

FRIDAY, May 11, 2007 (HealthDay News) -- Minimally invasive angioplasty and stenting is a safe and effective method of opening dangerously clogged arteries in the abdomen, a U.S. study finds.

Clearing these arterial blockages can restore blood flow to the intestines and relieve painful symptoms of a condition called chronic mesenteric ischemia ("intestinal angina"), explained researchers at the Cardiovascular Institute of the South in Lafayette, La.

Patients with chronic mesenteric ischemia suffer symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, or pain after eating. The symptoms can cause patients to significantly reduce the amount they eat, resulting in major weight loss.

Surgery to treat the condition is a complex, lengthy procedure (4 to 8 hours) and can result in death in as many as 15 percent of patients, according to background information in the study.

"Chronic mesenteric ischemia is an ideal condition for treatment with nonsurgical interventions. Angioplasty and stenting are simple and safe, and many times today can be done as an outpatient procedure," Dr. David E. Allie, director of cardiothoracic, vascular and endovascular surgery at the institute, said in a prepared statement.

He and his colleagues used angioplasty and stenting on 50 patients. They found that it restored blood flow to the intestines and relieved painful symptoms in more than 90 percent of the patients, without major complications.

Fifteen of the patients later developed re-narrowing of the stented artery. Of these, three were treated medically and 12 had repeat procedures to reopen the artery.

Overall, 91 percent of patients were alive and symptom-free after one year, 88 percent after two years, and 82 percent after three years.

The study was expected to be presented May 11 at a meeting of the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions in Orlando.

More information

The Society of Vascular Surgery has more about mesenteric ischemia.

SOURCE: Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions, news release, May 11, 2007
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