Mesenteric angiography

Mesenteric Angiography: What is It and Why Are Doctors Using It?

Mesenteric angiography is a medical procedure in which an imaging test is taken to view a patient’s mesenteric artery and its branches. The mesenteric artery is the main artery in the abdomen that supplies blood to the small and large intestine. Doctors use mesenteric angiography to diagnose and treat various conditions such as abdominal aneurysms, ischemia, abdominal bleed, and other diseases of the digestive system.

Preparation for mesenteric angiography

Before the procedure begins, the patient will have to fast for at least 8-12 hours. The patient will also need to inform the doctor of any allergies to medications or if he or she is pregnant or breastfeeding. Doctors may also ask the patient to undergo additional tests such as an ECG (electrocardiogram).


To begin the procedure, the patient will be asked to lie on a table with their back propped up. The doctor will then insert a thin flexible tube, called a catheter, into a large artery, usually in the groin area. Once the catheter is in place, the doctor will inject a dye (radiopaque material) into the artery with the catheter to allow for imaging of the arterial vessels in the abdomen. The patient will then undergo X-ray scanning.


  • Digital Subtraction Angiography (DSA): This type of imaging is commonly used for mesenteric angiography and involves the injection of a contrast medium into the artery. This allows for the visualization of the blood vessels and other organs in the abdomen.
  • Computed Tomography (CT) Angiography: This type of imaging uses a combination of X-rays and computer technology to view a 3D image of the abdomen. This type of angiography is less commonly used for mesenteric imaging, as it is not as accurate as DSA.
  • Magnetic Resonance Angiography (MRA): This type of imaging uses magnetic fields and radio waves to create detailed images of the abdominal vessels. This type of angiography is not commonly used but is helpful in certain cases.


Mesenteric angiography is generally safe but there are some risks associated with the procedure, including allergic reactions to the contrast dye, infection, bleeding and damage to the artery that the catheter is inserted into. There is also a small risk of stroke or heart attack, however, this is rare and typically only occurs in high-risk patients.

Why It’s Used

Mesenteric angiography is used to diagnose and treat a variety of diseases and conditions of the digestive system, including abdominal aneurysms, ischemia, and abdominal bleeding. It is also helpful in diagnosing and treating other diseases, such as cancer.

When to Consider

Mesenteric angiography should be considered if a patient is experiencing symptoms such as abdominal pain, severe vomiting or diarrhea, or changes in blood pressure or heart rate. It can also be used to evaluate the severity of a condition or to monitor the progress of a treatment.