beth israel deaconess medical center a harvard medical school teaching hospital

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Medical History

Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history.

Diagnostic Test

Then he or she may order any one or more of the following tests:


An angiogram (also called an arteriogram) is the primary test for this condition, especially for acute mesenteric ischemia when a fast diagnosis is key. An angiogram uses x-rays to view your body's blood vessels. When the arteries are studied, the test is also called an arteriogram. To make the images, your physician will inject a dye through a thin, flexible tube, called a catheter, which is threaded into the artery in question from an access point in your groin or arm. This contrast dye makes blood vessels visible on an x-ray.

Doppler Ultrasound

This test uses high-frequency sound waves that bounce off of blood cells and blood vessels. This test can determine blood flow and show problems with the structure of blood vessels while it identifies specific arteries that are blocked.

Blood Tests

When you have mesenteric ischemia, especially the acute type, your white blood cell levels may be high. Blood tests can show this. The tests may also show if acid in your blood is at high levels, a condition called acidosis. These findings may indicate you are suffering a serious bowel injury.

Computed Tomography (CT) Scan

A CT scan creates detailed three-dimensional images from x-rays of slices of your body and can show if there are problems with the arteries, such as aortic dissection, as well as with your other abdominal organs.

Magnetic Resonance Angiogram (MRA)

An MRA scan also creates detailed three-dimensional images of your blood vessels from magnetic images of slices of your body. The test does not involve radiation.

Contact Information

Cardiovascular Medicine
Division of the CardioVascular Institute
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
330 Brookline Avenue
Boston, MA 02215