Superior mesenteric blood flow in the fasting and postprandial state in humans can be measured accurately by cine phase-contrast (CPC) magnetic resonance (MR) imaging. Postprandial flow changes associated with mesenteric arterial occlusive disease (MAOD) are unknown.We used CPC MR imaging to measure fasting and postprandial blood flow in the superior mesenteric artery (SMA) and vein (SMV) in 22 patients (mean age, 69 years) with aortic occlusive disease and MAOD and compared the results with similar measurements in 8 younger, asymptomatic volunteers (mean age, 34 years). All 22 patients had stenosis or occlusion of the splanchnic or pelvic arteries demonstrated by contrast aortography; 19 were asymptomatic and 3 had symptoms of chronic mesenteric ischemia. Mean fasting blood flow was higher in patients (4.5 mL.kg-1.min-1) than in volunteers (2.3 mL.kg-1.min-1; P < .01). However, postprandial hyperemia (mean percentage change in SMV blood flow) was less in the asymptomatic (70%; P < .001) and symptomatic patients (29%; P < .01) than in the volunteers. Postprandial SMV flow was similar to SMA flow in the patients but was significantly greater than SMA flow in the volunteers (P < .005).Postprandial mesenteric hyperemia is reduced in older patients with MAOD. The role of aging alone has not been determined. Fasting and postprandial flow changes in these patients may predict the onset of chronic mesenteric ischemia.
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