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Mesenteric angiography

Abdominal arteriogram; Arteriogram - abdomen; Mesenteric angiogram

Mesenteric angiography is a test used to look at the blood vessels that supply the small and large intestines.

Angiography is an imaging test that uses x-rays and a special dye to see inside the arteries. Arteries are blood vessels that carry blood away from the heart.

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Mesenteric arteriography

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How the Test is Performed

This test is done in a hospital. You will lie on an x-ray table. You may ask for medicine to help you relax (sedative) if you need it.

Certain treatments can be done during this procedure. These items are passed through the catheter to the area in the artery that needs treatment. These include:

After the x-rays or treatments are finished, the catheter is removed. Pressure is applied to the puncture site for 20 to 45 minutes to stop the bleeding. After that time the area is checked and a tight bandage is applied. The leg is most often kept straight for another 6 hours after the procedure.

How to Prepare for the Test

You should not eat or drink anything for 6 to 8 hours before the test.

You will be asked to wear a hospital gown and sign a consent form for the procedure. Remove jewelry from the area being imaged.

Tell your provider:

How the Test will Feel

You may feel a brief sting when the numbing medicine is given. You will feel a brief sharp pain and some pressure as the catheter is placed and moved into the artery. In most cases, you will feel only a sensation of pressure in the groin area.

As the dye is injected, you will feel a warm, flushing sensation. You may have tenderness and bruising at the site of the catheter insertion after the test.

Why the Test is Performed

This test is done:

A mesenteric angiogram may be performed after more sensitive nuclear medicine scans have identified active bleeding. The radiologist can then pinpoint and treat the source.

Normal Results

Results are normal if the examined arteries are normal in appearance.

What Abnormal Results Mean

A common abnormal finding is narrowing and hardening of the arteries that supply the large and small intestine. This is called mesenteric ischemia. The problem occurs when fatty material (plaque) builds up on the walls of your arteries.

Abnormal results may also be due to bleeding in the small and large intestine. This may be caused by:

Other abnormal results may be due to:

Risks

There is some risk of the catheter damaging the artery or knocking loose a piece of the artery wall. This can reduce or block blood flow and lead to tissue death. This is a rare complication.

Other risks include:

Considerations

To make a diagnosis, your doctor may also perform a computed tomography (CT) angiography or magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) before or in place of catheter angiography.

Related Information

X-ray
Endoscopy
Cirrhosis
Angiodysplasia of the colon

References

Desai SS, Hodgson KJ. Endovascular diagnostic technique. In: Sidawy AN, Perler BA, eds. Rutherford's Vascular Surgery and Endovascular Therapy. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 60.

Lo RC, Schermerhorn ML. Mesenteric arterial disease: epidemiology, pathophysiology, and clinical evaluation. In: Sidawy AN, Perler BA, eds. Rutherford's Vascular Surgery and Endovascular Therapy. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 131.

van den Bosch H, Westenberg JJM, de Roos A. Cardiovascular magnetic resonance angiography: carotids, aorta, and peripheral vessels. In: Manning WJ, Pennell DJ, eds. Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 44.

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Review Date: 10/30/2020  

Reviewed By: Deepak Sudheendra, MD, RPVI, FSIR, Director of DVT & Complex Venous Disease Program, Assistant Professor of Interventional Radiology & Surgery at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, with an expertise in Vascular Interventional Radiology & Surgical Critical Care, Philadelphia, PA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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