Clinical manifestations of chronic mesenteric ischemia (CMI) can range from vague abdominal pain to debilitating states of intestinal angina resulting in significant weight loss and morbidity. Once the condition has been diagnosed, treatment usually is elective, except in rare cases of rapid progression to acute mesenteric ischemia. Medical management of CMI is mostly supportive. However, in disorders of coagulation, antiplatelet agents and warfarin may be helpful to prevent further thrombosis, and these disorders may require lifelong therapy. For decades, the mainstay of therapy for CMI has been surgery. Extensive disease often requires complete revascularization, although bypass of the superior mesenteric artery alone also has been shown to be effective. Multiple variations of surgical bypass have been advocated but require further evaluation to determine efficacy. Transaortic endarterectomy is a viable option for limited disease. Minimally invasive vascular procedures such as percutaneous endovascular angioplasty and stenting are proving to be effective for short-segment atherosclerotic stenosis, particularly near the origin of the vessels. Although endovascular therapy has less long-term durability compared with open surgical procedures, these treatments prove simpler, with shortened hospital stays and reduced morbidity. Furthermore, angiographic therapy is a feasible alternative for patients in whom surgery is deemed precarious.
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