Mesenteric ischemia (mez-un-TER-ik is-KEE-me-uh) occurs when blood flow to your small intestine is restricted by narrowed or blocked blood vessels (arteries). Decreased blood flow can permanently damage the small intestine. Sudden loss of blood flow to the small intestine (acute mesenteric ischemia) from a blood clot requires immediate surgery.
Mesenteric ischemia that develops over time (chronic) is treated with angioplasty or open surgery. Untreated, chronic mesenteric ischemia can become acute, or lead to severe weight loss and malnutrition.