Superior mesenteric artery dissection

Dr Henry Knipe and Dr Yuranga Weerakkody et al.

Superior mesenteric artery (SMA) dissection is an uncommon type of arterial dissection. It can either on its own (spontaneous isolated) or occur as part of an extension of an aortic dissection (combined), with the latter being more common. However, spontaneous isolated SMA dissection is considered the most frequently reported type of visceral artery dissection 3,7

Patients often present in middle age (50-70 of age). There is a recognized increased male predilection 10.

Patients can present with vague abdominal pain, the pain being especially worse after a meal. An SMA dissection is considered more symptomatic than a celiac artery dissection 3.

In isolated SMA dissections, it usually begins a few centimeters from the SMA origin 4.

Spontaneous isolated SMA dissection has been reported in association with 10:

On non-contrast CT, the SMA is often enlarged. Postcontrast images often show a flap within the vessel in acute situations. In an acute state, there can also be increased attenuation of the fat plane around the SMA 4

Different therapeutic approaches are possible ranging from conservative management to surgical revascularization to endovascular therapy 8. The prognosis is variable and it can sometimes be fatal.

It was first reported in 1947, Bauersfeld 1.

Article information

rID: 19851
System: Vascular
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Combined SMA dissection
  • Spontaneous isolated SMA dissection (SISMAD)
  • Superior mesenteric arterial dissection
  • Superior mesentery arterial (SMA) dissection
  • SMA dissection
  • Dissection of the SMA
  • Dissection of the superior mesentery artery
  • Superior mesenteric arterial (SMA) dissection

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Cases and figures

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