Inferior mesenteric artery aneurysm

Inferior mesenteric artery aneurysms are among the rarest of all visceral artery aneurysms.

Aneurysms of the inferior mesenteric artery (IMA) only account for <1% of all visceral artery aneurysms 1,2. These aneurysms are more common in men than in women 3.

Most patients with IMA aneurysms are asymptomatic and these aneurysms are usually discovered incidentally 3-6. Some patients may present with a palpable pulsatile abdominal mass or bruit around the umbilicus 3,6. In cases complicated by rupture, patient may present with abdominal pain, low back pain, collapse or hemorrhagic shock 3.

Atherosclerotic disease is the most common cause of aneurysmal dilatation of the IMA 3-6. These aneurysms usually occur in the presence of chronic stenosis or occlusion of either or both the celiac artery and superior mesenteric artery (SMA). The IMA becomes part of the collateral formation through the arc of Riolan or marginal artery of Drummond resulting in increased intraluminal flow. The increased flow in combination with atherosclerotic disease can lead to arterial wall weakness and subsequent formation of aneurysms.

Other causes include 3-6:

Ultrasound with Doppler may show IMA aneurysms as dilated vessels lying parallel to the lower part of the abdominal aorta 4.

IMA aneurysms are best visualized by arterial imaging like CT angiography (CTA), MR angiography (MRA) and digital subtraction angiography (DSA). These aneurysms can be saccular or fusiform (commonly pear-shaped) in morphology. Associated stenosis or occlusion of the celiac artery and SMA as well as the collateral vessels (e.g. arc of Riolan and marginal artery of Drummond) can also be demonstrated.

Surgical treatment by way of revascularization with reimplantation of the resected IMA along with either angioplasty or bypass of the stenosed or occluded celiac and SMA seem to be the best way to prevent death from rupture 1-6. It is suggested that if an aneurysm is >2 cm at the proximal IMA or >1 cm at the distal IMA, surgical intervention should be performed due to an increased risk of rupture 3. If an IMA aneurysm ruptures, prognosis is poor 3-6.

Article information

rID: 45949
System: Vascular
Tag: cases
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Inferior mesenteric artery aneurysms
  • IMA aneurysms
  • IMA aneurysm

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Cases and figures

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