Pasumarthy et al listed risk factors for the superior mesenteric artery syndrome (SMAS). The authors are from York Hospital in York, Pennsylvania.


Normally the proximal superior mesenteric artery is surrounded by mesenteric fat. Anything that reduces this fat, or causes the superior mesenteric atery to come closer to the abdominal aorta can result in compression of the duodenum, which lies between the two vessels.


Body weight and nutrition:

(1) low body mass index (lean habitus)

(2) rapid weight loss or cachexia

(3) malabsorption or malnutrition

(4) rapid linear growth during adolescence without compensatory weight gain


Surgery and/or trauma:

(1) prolonged bed rest

(2) use of a body cast

(3) injury to the spinal cord

(4) scoliosis surgery

(5) abdominal surgery


Anatomic causes:

(1) abnormally high and fixed position of the ligament of Treitz

(2) unusually low origin of the superior mesenteric artery (SMA)


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