Gastric ischaemia as an unusual presentation of median arcuate ligament compression syndrome

BJR Case Rep. 2016 Jul 25;3(1):20160005. doi: 10.1259/bjrcr.20160005. eCollection 2017.


Median arcuate ligament compression syndrome is an anatomical and clinical entity defined by a combination of extrinsic compression of the coeliac axis by the median arcuate ligament and clinical manifestations. The majority of patients with features of compression experience no symptoms. The most common clinical symptoms when present are epigastric pain, nausea, vomiting and weight loss. Hypertrophy of the median arcuate ligament is a rare cause of chronic abdominal pain. We present a case of an elderly male patient who presented with acute epigastric pain, and gastric and intrahepatic portal pneumatosis on CT imaging. Emphysematous gastritis, caustic ingestion and other causes of this imaging presentation were ruled out. Imaging also showed chronic compression of the coeliac axis with compensatory hypertrophy of the gastroduodenal artery. Gastric ischaemia is a rare presentation of this syndrome, which occurs owing to the failure of compensatory mechanisms and resultant ischaemic injury to a virtual watershed vascular territory of the gastric wall. Conservative management was performed, including volume restoration, intravenous proton pump inhibitor therapy, broad-spectrum antibiotic therapy and blood transfusion. No surgical or endovascular interventional procedures were carried out. The patient showed clinical improvement soon after the initiation of treatment. Disappearance of the imaging findings was documented 2 weeks after treatment. Complete endoscopic recovery and absence of clinical alterations were observed during follow-up after 3 months.

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