Superior mesenteric artery syndrome (SMAS), also known as Wilkie’s syndrome, is an exceedingly rare condition concerning intestinal obstruction. SMAS occurs when the space between the superior mesenteric artery (SMA) and the abdominal aorta narrows, resulting in compression of the duodenum. Functionally, the SMA supplies the distal duodenum, two-thirds of the transverse colon, and the pancreas. The location of the SMA is at about the level of the first lumbar vertebra branching off the anterior portion of the abdominal aorta. Generally, SMAS is due to rapid, excessive weight loss, resulting in the loss of the duodenal fat pad. The loss of the fat pad consequently changes the angle between the abdominal aorta and the SMA, or aortomesenteric angle, causing intestinal obstruction. Typical symptoms of acute cases of SMAS include postprandial abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting; however, chronic cases may present with vague gastrointestinal symptoms and further weight loss. Herein, we discuss the case of a woman with chronic abdominal pain and previous substantial weight loss in whom we note features consistent with SMAS. For more information click here.
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