Objectives. We screened a cohort of subjects affected by various degree of dyspepsia to reveal if they presented a reduction of the aorto-mesenteric angle and to diagnose suspected cases of superior mesenteric artery (SMA) syndrome.
Design. Controlled, prospective, study.
Setting. Subjects were studied as outpatients.
Subjects. The study investigated a total of 3622 subjects referred to our department by their general practitioners for dyspepsia and/or abdominal pain.
Interventions. Abdominal ultrasonography with power colour Doppler, gastroduodenoscopy, hypotonic duodenography, contrast-enhanced spiral computerized tomography were performed.
Main outcome measurement and results. Color Doppler revealed a significant reduction of the SMA angle in 29 of 950 subjects; gastroscopy showed duodenal compressive pulsation in 14 of 29 patients and X-ray revealed compression of the third segment of the duodenum in 28 of 29 patients. CT confirmed the presence of a reduced angle and various degrees of duodenal compression in all patients. Ultrasonography and CT examinations gave overlapping results (P > 0.05) in diagnosing pathological aorto-mesenteric angle.
Conclusion. The authors believe that the incidence of reduced aorto-mesenteric angle and SMA syndrome might be underrated.
Ultrasound power colour Doppler imaging is useful in epidemiological screening of reduced aorto-mesenteric angle to diagnose suspected cases of SMA syndrome.