Introduction: Controversy continues about the mere existence of the celiac artery compression syndrome. Earlier results of treatment of unselected patients groups showed varying, mostly disappointing, results. The recently introduced gastric exercise tonometry test is able to identify patients with actual gastrointestinal ischemia. We prospectively studied the use of gastric exercise tonometry as a key criterion for revascularization treatment in patients with otherwise unexplained abdominal complaints and significant stenosis of the celiac artery by compression of the arcuate ligament.
Methods: Patients were prospectively selected using abdominal artery angiography and gastric exercise tonometry. Patients with a significant compression of the celiac artery, typical abdominal complaints, and abnormal tonometry were considered for revascularization.
Results: Over a 7-year period, 43 patients with significant celiac artery compression were included in this study, and 30 patients were diagnosed as ischemic. Twenty-nine patients had revascularization, 22 (76 %) had a trunk release only. After a median follow-up of 39 months, 83% of patients were free of symptoms. The repeated tonometry after treatment improved in 100% of patients free of symptoms, compared with 25% in patients with persistent complaints after revascularization.
Conclusions: The results of this study suggest that the celiac axis compression syndrome exists and that the actual ischemia can be detected by gastric exercise tonometry and treated safely, with success.