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Chronic gastrointestinal ischaemia: shifting paradigms
  1. Peter B F Mensink1,
  2. Leon M G Moons1,
  3. Ernst J Kuipers1,2
  1. 1Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Erasmus MC University Medical Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
  2. 2Internal Medicine, Erasmus MC University Medical Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to Dr Peter B F Mensink, Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Erasmus MC University Medical Center, 's Gravendijkwal 230, 3015 CE Rotterdam, The Netherlands; darmischemie{at}


Chronic gastrointestinal ischaemia (CGI) is generally considered to be a rare disease entity. The majority of patients with CGI are only diagnosed after a long period of slowly progressive abdominal symptoms, in some cases with impressive weight loss. These patients may have a broad range of clinical signs and quite often undergo repeated extensive evaluation of their symptoms with negative outcome. The classical triad of symptoms, also known as ‘abdominal angina’, is defined as the combination of postprandial pain, weight loss due to fear of pain after eating, and an abdominal bruit during physical examination. Recent studies have shed new lights on these long unchallenged concepts. These studies first showed that CGI is more prevalent than previously thought and can occur in patients with both single- and multi-vessel disease. Second, the disease presents with a much wider range in symptoms, and only a minority of patients present with the classical triad. Third, long-term positive outcomes can be achieved after endovascular or surgical revascularisation therapy in large proportion of patients. This knowledge results from a combination of clinical research by dedicated focus groups, the current widespread availability of new imaging techniques such as CT-angiography, the development of new functional tests for assessment of mucosal perfusion, and the evolution of endovascular stenting options. Clinicians diagnosing and treating patients with acute and chronic abdominal conditions have to be aware of these new developments. We therefore here review the new insights on CGI with a focus on epidemiology, pathophysiology, current diagnostics and treatment.

  • endoscopy
  • gastric and duodenal ulcers
  • ischaemia
  • necrotizing enterocolitis

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.