Superior mesenteric artery blood flow in systemic sclerosis patients

F. Quarto Di Palo, R. Rivolta, V. Berruti, M. Caronni, S. Bazzi, R. Scorza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective. Intestinal involvement is frequently observed in systemic sclerosis (SSc) and is associated with malnutrition and a decreased survival rate. Vascular lesions are claimed to underlie and precede these changes. The aim of this study was to establish whether a reduced mesenteric blood flow was present in SSc patients with no signs or symptoms of small bowel involvement. Methods. Superior mesenteric artery (SMA) blood flow in the fasting state was measured by colour Doppler ultrasonography in 27 SSc patients and in 25 controls. The effect of a balanced liquid meal on mesenteric blood flow was measured in six matched patients and controls. Results. In fasting SSc patients, there were reductions in mean SMA diameter (P <0.001), blood flow (213 ± 92 vs 398 ± 125 ml/min in controls, P <0.0001) and pulsatility index (3.49 ± 1.0 vs 4.13 ± 0.97 in controls, P <0.07). In both groups, the meal increased basal flow values and the differences between controls and patients in the fasting state were not significant. Conclusions. In the absence of symptoms of small bowel involvement, reversible SMA vasoconstriction is demonstrable in the fasting state in SSc patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)730-734
Number of pages5
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • Colour Doppler ultrasonography
  • Mesenteric artery
  • Mesenteric blood flow
  • Systemic sclerosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology
  • Neuroscience(all)


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