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Angina Abdominalis (Abdominal Angina)

Pain in the abdominal area secondary to decreased blood flow to the stomach or the  intestine.

What is Abdominal Angina?

Pain in the upper abdominal area secondary to decreased blood flow to the stomach or the intestine. Similar to other arteries in the body, we may see narrowings of the arteries supplying the stomach and the intestine (=gastro-intestinal tract) with oxygenated blood.


There are two possible causes. In some cases it is a form of atherosclerosis (narrowed calcified arteries) affecting the intestinal arteries, rather than the leg arteries as in the typical form of peripheral artery disease. It is very typical to find sclerotic arteries in other parts of the body as well.


In other cases we are dealing with thromboembolic events as seen in arrhythmias (e.g. atrial fibrillation), when small blood clots are ejected from the heart into the peripheral arteries where they get stuck and cause symptoms like pain. 

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What causes Abdominal Angina?

The risk factors are:

  • Smoking

  • High blood pressure

  • High cholesterol

  • Diabetes Mellitus

  • Concomitant peripheral artery disease

  • Concomitant arrhythmias like atrial fibrillation

What are the symptoms of Abdominal Angina?

  • Upper abdominal pain, especially after food ingestion

  • Weight loss due to decreased food intake

What imaging/tests are done to diagnose Abdominal Angina?

  • Doppler Ultrasound of the abdominal arteries to visualize the blood flow

  • Angio-CT scan or Angio-MRI

What intervention/treatment can be performed for Abdominal Angina?

Depending on the underlying cause, angiogram and angioplasty may be performed to reopen the arterial blockage. This can be done with a balloon or with a stent.


In the case of thromboembolic events due to heart arrhythmias, blood thinning therapy will be indicated to prevent further events or even targeted treatments to eliminate the arrhythmias.


In case of a thromboembolic event due to an open hole in the heart between the heart chambers, a PFO/ASD, the closure of the little hole will be necessary with an umbrella-like device inserted through the groin vein in a minimally invasive intervention.

What intervention/treatment does CardioCare Marbella offer for Abdominal Angina?

CardioCare Heart & Vascular centre Marbella has the expertise and is equipped to offer all diagnostic and minimally invasive therapeutic procedures necessary to treat abdominal angina:

  • Angiogram and Balloon/Stent Angioplasty

  • Closure of an ASD (atrio-septal defect) or an open foramen ovale (PFO)

  • Diagnosis and treatment of underlying arrhythmias

  > Schedule your appointment online

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