Superior mesenteric artery syndrome

Case contributed by Rami Agha
Diagnosis probable


Upper abdominal discomfort, early satiety, repeated vomiting.

Patient Data

Age: 14
Gender: Female

Significant gastric dilatation is noted proximal to the level of 3rd part of duodenum that is compressed by the close proximity of superior mesenteric artery to the aorta. Diminished fat plane is noted between the superior mesenteric artery and aorta.

Annotated image
  • aortomesenteric distance = 7.6 mm (lower limit of normal = 10 mm)
  • aortomesenteric angle = 16.8o (lower limit of normal = 25o)

Case Discussion

Close proximity and acute angulation between the superior mesenteric artery and aorta is caused by scanty interposing fat, resulting in compression of the 3rd part of duodenum with proximal gastric dilatation, explaining the patient's complaint. Such findings are suggestive of superior mesenteric artery syndrome.

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