Clinical course of mesenteric artery stenosis in elderly americans

Arch Intern Med. 2006 Oct 23;166(19):2095-100. doi: 10.1001/archinte.166.19.2095.


Background: To examine prospectively the relationship between stenosis or occlusion of the celiac and superior mesenteric arteries and symptoms of chronic intestinal ischemia in free-living elderly patients in the United States.

Methods: As part of an ancillary study to the Cardiovascular Health Study, participants in the Forsyth County (North Carolina) cohort underwent visceral duplex ultrasonography of the celiac and superior mesenteric arteries. Critical mesenteric artery stenosis (MAS) or occlusion was defined by Doppler flow ultrasound-derived criteria. Clinical outcomes were assessed at annual follow-up examinations and review of death certificates. Multivariate associations between the presence of MAS and all-cause mortality and adverse cardiovascular events were analyzed. Participants with MAS were contacted to determine the presence of symptoms consistent with chronic intestinal ischemia.

Results: Of 553 participants who underwent visceral duplex ultrasonography, 97 (17.5%) had disease of the celiac or superior mesenteric artery. At a mean follow-up of 6(1/2) years, 20 participants with MAS (20.6%) and 93 without MAS (20.4%) had died (relative risk, 1.01; 95% confidence interval, 0.66-1.55). No deaths were attributed to intestinal infarction. No association existed between the presence of MAS and prevalent cardiovascular disease, all-cause mortality, or adverse cardiovascular events. A questionnaire was completed by 71% of the surviving participants with MAS. No participant reported symptoms or weight loss consistent with chronic intestinal ischemia.

Conclusions: Mesenteric artery stenosis was a common finding in free-living elderly patients. At long-term follow-up, the presence of asymptomatic MAS was not associated with death or adverse cardiovascular events. Participants with asymptomatic MAS by duplex ultrasonographic criteria did not experience intestinal infarction or develop chronic intestinal ischemia.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cohort Studies
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mesenteric Arteries / diagnostic imaging*
  • Mesenteric Vascular Occlusion / diagnosis*
  • Mesenteric Vascular Occlusion / mortality
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Prospective Studies
  • Radiography
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Ultrasonography