Visceral artery disease
What is visceral artery disease?
Visceral artery disease is the narrowing of the arteries that supply blood to the intestines, spleen and liver. The narrowing, caused by atherosclerosis, results in a reduction in blood flow to these organs. Atherosclerosis is the hardening of the arteries due to the build-up of plaque, fatty deposits that adhere to the artery wall.
The most common presentation of visceral artery disease is chronic mesenteric ischemia, insufficient blood-flow to the intestines. It causes pain after eating and results in weight loss. It can also result in a fatal interruption of blood-flow to the intestines. Without proper flow, the intestines may begin to die and become gangrenous. This condition requires immediate diagnosis and emergency treatment. (See intestinal ischemic syndromes.)