The superior mesenteric artery (SMA) provides vital blood supply to the midgut, and an acute abnormality can rapidly precipitate bowel ischemia and infarction and lead to morbidity and mortality. Vascular diseases that acutely compromise the SMA threaten its tributaries and include occlusion, dissection, aneurysm rupture, pseudoaneurysm, vasculitis, and SMA branch hemorrhage into the bowel. Emergency medicine physicians rely on the radiologist to identify SMA abnormalities, to characterize them, and to detail findings that guide the appropriate triage of these patients. As such, radiologists must be cognizant of the features that influence patient treatment to assist vascular surgeons and interventional radiologists in decision making. Some patients can be treated medically, while clinical and radiographic findings may suggest the need for interventional or surgical repair of the artery. In the latter case, multidetector CT findings aid in determining which of the various surgical and endovascular treatment options is optimal, and both vascular and gastrointestinal sequelae of acute SMA abnormalities contribute to these determinations. The authors review acute life-threatening conditions involving the SMA including acute occlusion, dissection, aneurysm, pseudoaneurysm, and hemorrhage and discuss the vascular and gastrointestinal multidetector CT findings in each of these conditions that help to guide surgical and interventional management.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging