Clinical and nutritional outcomes in children with idiopathic superior mesenteric artery syndrome

Jr Rung Shiu, Hsun Chin Chao*, Chih Cheng Luo, Ming Wei Lai, Man Shan Kong, Shih Yen Chen, Chien Chang Chen, Chao Jan Wang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

34 Scopus citations


Objective: There are no available data for outcomes in children's idiopathic superior mesenteric artery syndrome (SMAS) strictly treated conservatively. The aim of the study was to evaluate clinical and nutritional outcome in children with idiopathic SMAS. Patients and Methods: A 1-year prospective observation study of effects of treatment and outcome was performed in 27 children (8 boys, 19 girls) with idiopathic SMAS who underwent an upper gastrointestinal (UGI) series, ultrasound measurement of the aortomesenteric angle, treatment, clinical assessment, growth evaluation, and regular clinical visits for more than 12 months. Results: Mean age of the patients was 11.77 ± 2.15 years. The major clinical complaints were postprandial pain or fullness (88.9%), vomiting (55.6%), and early satiety (51.9%). Eight patients (29.6%) had weight loss. The UGI series revealed typical features of SMAS. The aortomesenteric angle on ultrasound was 10° to 19°. The height of most patients (92.6%) was above the 10th percentile, whereas 15 (55.6%) patients weighed below the 10th percentile. Six patients underwent surgical intervention (3 for obstruction and 3 for persistent anorexia with weight loss), and their clinical symptoms and weight status improved steadily during the follow-up months. Among the 21 patients not subject to surgical intervention, 11 (52.4%) experienced a reduction of symptoms >50% after 3 months of treatment, and weight-for-age percentile increased significantly after 6 months of treatment. Overall, a significant increase in the weight-for-age status was seen in the patients with surgical treatment or with medication only after 6 and 12 months of treatment. Conclusions: An aortomesenteric angle <20° is a constant phenomenon in children with idiopathic SMAS. A duodenojejunostomy can effectively relieve the obstructive symptoms, such as anorexia, and improve nutritional status, whereas long-term medical treatment may aid in relieving the clinical symptoms, promoting appetite, and improving nutritional status in pediatric patients with idiopathic SMAS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177-182
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition
Issue number2
StatePublished - 08 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • aortomesenteric angle
  • children
  • idiopathic superior mesenteric artery syndrome
  • outcome
  • ultrasound


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