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Median arcuate ligament syndrome (MALS): Causes, Types, Symptoms, Diagnosis ,Treatment , Risk factors , Complications , Prevention

What is Median Arcuate Ligament Syndrome (MALS)?

If you have got a belly ache and you've lost some weight lately, one feasible purpose is a circumstance known as MALS. The complete call of this rare problem: median arcuate ligament syndrome.

The median arcuate ligament is a band of tissue fashioned like an arc within the decreased part of your chest. It passes over the aorta -- a blood vessel that carries blood from the heart.

When you have got MALS, this ligament sits lower than usual and presses on the celiac artery. This blood vessel delivers blood to the belly, liver, and different organs to your stomach.

It's the pressure from the ligament that causes hassle. It may also cause sluggish blood to waft to the organs to your belly and press on nerves around the artery. Both can cause ache.

Median arcuate ligament syndrome (MALS) is a situation in which the median arcuate ligament presses too tightly on the celiac artery (a main department of the aorta that can provide blood to the stomach, liver, and other organs) and the nerves inside the area (celiac plexus).

Ligaments are bands of tissue that join one bone or cartilage to some other. The median arcuate ligament is fashioned like an arch and goes across the aorta (the artery inside the coronary heart that includes blood all through the body) to attach the diaphragm to the backbone.

In a person with MALS, the median arcuate ligament essentially acts like a hammer and the celiac axis acts like an anvil, compressing the take off of fundamental vessels and squeezing nerves in between. (The “take off” is the spot wherein the celiac axis divides into 3 branches — the hepatic, left gastric and splenic arteries.) By compressing the artery proper before it branches, MAL cuts off blood supply to the stomach and liver. This is a reason why patients bitch of ache after meals.

Median arcuate ligament syndrome (MALS) is special than median arcuate ligament compression. Median arcuate ligament compression takes place in approximately 10% to 25% of the population and doesn’t cause any symptoms. In a completely small variety of these people, MALS is present, and healthcare issuers with it will have the signs and symptoms indexed underneath.

What is Median Arcuate Ligament Syndrome (MALS)


Explanation of medical terms and concept Median arcuate ligament syndrome (MALS)

Median arcuate ligament syndrome (MALS) is an extraordinary entity characterized through extrinsic compression of the celiac artery and signs and symptoms of postprandial epigastric ache, nausea, vomiting, and weight loss mimicking mesenteric ischemia. We present two patients identified with MALS, the first dealt with with an open laparotomy by a vascular health care professional and the second one using a robot assisted laparoscopic technique via a well known health practitioner with a vascular health care professional on standby. This is the second ever file of this technique. Both patients recovered without complications and skilled resolution in their symptoms. A discussion of the pathophysiology, literature evaluate, and multispecialty treatment approach are supplied.

Median arcuate ligament syndrome (MALS) takes place when the arc-fashioned band of tissue in the chest location (median arcuate ligament) presses on, or traps, the artery that supplies blood to the organs to your top stomach (celiac artery).

The location of the median arcuate ligament and celiac artery varies slightly from person to person. Typically, the ligament runs across the largest blood vessel within the body (aorta) and sits above the celiac artery without inflicting issues. But every so often the ligament or artery may be out of region, causing MALS. The ligament can also place strain on the network of nerves surrounding the celiac artery (celiac plexus).

MALS may occur in anyone, even children. Other names for MALS are:

  • Celiac artery compression

  • Celiac axis syndrome

  • Dunbar syndrome

Treatment involves surgery to release (decompress) the ligament and restore blood flow through the artery.

The median arcuate ligament syndrome (MALS) is a condition in which an abnormally located median arcuate ligament can cause excessive intestinal pressure and lead to swelling of the abdominal area also known as splenomegaly The main symptom of MALS is a symptomatic left testicular or ovarian mass Other symptoms include pain nausea vomiting and diarrhea A patient with this syndrome may also suffer from internal hernias inguinal hernias and hydrops fetalis.

Symptoms Median arcuate ligament syndrome (MALS)

Compression of the celiac artery by using the median arcuate ligament is a poorly understood vascular compression syndrome related to the celiac artery and celiac nerve plexus that results in top abdominal pain (regularly made worse with ingesting), weight reduction, nausea and vomiting. Sometimes a medical doctor might also pay attention to a smooth whooshing sound with a stethoscope (bruit) over the top abdomen which could mean there's a vascular blockage. Some sufferers who're athletes might also revel in recurrent top stomach ache that is introduced on by mild to intense cardiovascular paintings. Additional symptoms related to the diagnosis, but regularly indicative of different medical troubles consist of palpitations (listening to or feeling your own heartbeat), chest ache, diarrhea, constipation, and difficulty dozing.Often, compression of the celiac artery doesn't purpose any signs.

However, those with MALS can have long-term (chronic) stomach pain. Signs and symptoms of MALS include:

  • Pain in the upper middle stomach area, which may go away when leaning forward

  • Stomach pain after eating, exercising or shifting body position

  • Fear of eating food due to pain, leading to significant weight loss — usually greater than 20 pounds (9.1 kilograms)

  • Bloating

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Diarrhea

Your doctor may additionally pay attention to a strange sound called a bruit whilst listening to your higher belly area with a stethoscope. The sound happens whilst a blood vessel is blocked or narrowed.

When to see a doctor

There are many distinct reasons for stomach pain. If you've got belly pain that keeps regardless of domestic care, name your medical doctor. You'll need a complete bodily exam and assessments to decide the unique cause.

If your stomach ache is intense and hobby or motion makes it worse, name your medical doctor right now. Seek immediate scientific help in case your belly pain takes place with other concerning signs and symptoms and signs, inclusive of:

  • Bloody stools

  • Fever

  • Nausea and vomiting that doesn't go away

  • Severe tenderness when you touch your belly area

  • Swelling of the belly area

  • Yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes (jaundice)

Sometimes top stomach ache can be harassed with chest pain. Get emergency help or name 911 if you have chest or upper stomach pain with or without any of the subsequent signs and symptoms, which may signal a coronary heart attack.

  • Pressure, fullness or tightness in your chest

  • Crushing or searing pain that spreads to your jaw, neck, shoulders, and one or both arms

  • Pain that lasts more than a few minutes or gets worse with activity

  • Cold sweats

  • Dizziness or weakness

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Shortness of breath

Causes Median arcuate ligament syndrome (MALS)

The median arcuate ligament is shaped by means of the merging of the right and left attachments of the diaphragm as they go over the aorta as it enters the stomach cavity from the chest. The dating of the ligament to the celiac artery foundation determines compression: whilst the celiac artery comes off the aorta above the diaphragm, this may result in compression; when the celiac artery branches off the aorta below the diaphragm, there's no compression. In a examine of 75 autopsies, the median arcuate ligament crossed the celiac artery foundation totally (33%) or in part (48%) in a majority of individuals, ensuing in sizable celiac artery compression.1

Since thirteen-50% of wholesome asymptomatic patients have a shape of celiac artery compression and a far smaller percentage of those sufferers really file signs constant with MALS,2 there may be enormous debate among docs regarding the life, the reasons, and the management of MALS. The reason of the signs is notion to be due to either poor blood flow from celiac artery compression, nerve irritation from compression celiac nerve plexus, or a mixture of both. Compression of the celiac artery may additionally bring about blood float coming from any other belly blood vessel (the superior mesenteric artery) and going to the belly and liver when a patient eats. This is known as a “steal phenomenon” and a probable cause of abdominal pain.Three-5 Another principle is that the nerves within the area of the celiac artery (the peri-aortic ganglia and celiac nerve plexus) are also notion to be overstimulated main to spasm (vasoconstriction) of the arteries going to the stomach and small bowel and this results in signs. Another idea is the compression of the nerves reasons interference of the mind/stomach (neuro-enteric) ache pathways ensuing in hypersensitivity and pain inside the stomach. Common surgical teaching maintains that chronic gastrointestinal ischemia happens whilst  of the 3 primary intestinal blood vessels have blocked blood flow; however, how many docs agree with that gastrointestinal ischemia may additionally have some of distinctive causes including a neurologic aspect.

Doctors aren't exactly positive what causes median arcuate ligament syndrome. The causes and prognosis of MALS has been a topic of controversy. The signs and symptoms may be due to a loss of blood float through the celiac artery, or compression on the nerves (neurological) of the celiac ganglion causing the ache.

Risk factors Median arcuate ligament syndrome (MALS)

Because the cause of MALS is poorly understood, the hazard factors for the syndrome are uncertain. MALS has been visible in children, even twins, which may suggest genetics plays a function.

Some people have advanced MALS after pancreatic surgical treatment and blunt injury to the top stomach vicinity.

Complications

MALS complications consist of lengthy-term ache, specifically after meals, that could result in a fear of eating and giant weight reduction. The ache and related melancholy or tension can greatly impact your niceness. Because MALS signs can be indistinct and mimic different conditions, it is able to make an effort to get an accurate diagnosis.

Diagnosis Median arcuate ligament syndrome (MALS)

Because there are numerous sufferers with celiac artery compression and no signs, and due to the fact there are numerous causes for belly ache, it is crucial that sufferers are evaluated for all possible commonplace causes of stomach pain before being identified with MALS.

There has been little or no published research with unique protocols for prognosis of MALS. Mak, et al suggested the usage of a selected diagnostic protocol. Complete clinical assessment must consist of blood paintings (whole blood count number, chemistry panel, liver function exams, amylase, lipase, infection markers (erythrocyte sedimentation fee, C-reactive protein), prealbumin, thyroid function exams), upper gastrointestinal imaging research, small bowel comply with-via, stomach ultrasound, higher endoscopy with biopsy, and assessment for inflammatory bowel sickness and celiac disease. Patients are then screened with mesenteric duplex ultrasound. Positive findings show expanded blood flow velocities (PSV=height systolic pace) within the celiac artery more than 200 cm/sec and a cease diastolic pace (EDV) extra than 55 cm/sec. Further demonstration of a decrease or maybe normalization of the velocities with deep notion is suggestive of celiac artery compression.4 Patients then undergo CT (computerized tomography) experiment, MRA (magnetic resonance angiogram) or on occasion an angiogram to verify the exchange within the form of the celiac artery in both inspiratory and expiratory levels.4

Once different common causes of pain are excluded and celiac artery compression is shown, it is essential that sufferers are evaluated for proper affected person selection for surgical intervention. Patient traits suggested to be predictive of a hit effects following surgical procedure include steady stomach ache after eating, sufferers among the ages of 40-60 years, and weight reduction of 20 kilos or extra. Surgery tends to no longer help in sufferers wherein the pain is peculiar, there are periods of remission, in patients over the age of 60 years, in sufferers with a history of alcohol abuse, and weight loss of less than 20 kilos.4, 6-9

Additionally, Mak et al suggested incorporating psychiatric and persistent pain carriers inside the pre-operative and publish-operative critiques given the correlation between chronic physical pain and mental ache. Pre-operatively, all patients are evaluated through a multi-disciplinary group along with trendy and vascular surgery, psychiatry, and pain carriers. This team then discusses each affected person, and surgical procedure isn't always considered until the affected person has been unanimously cleared by using the complete team.Four We have observed this method to be extremely beneficial to the patients.10-12

There's no particular check to diagnose MALS. Your medical doctor will carefully take a look at you and ask questions on your signs and symptoms and fitness history. The physical examination is often ordinary in people with MALS. Bloodwork and imaging assessments assist your medical doctor rule out different causes of belly pain.

Tests used to rule out other conditions and diagnose MALS may include:

  • Blood tests. Comprehensive blood tests are achieved to test for issues together with your liver, pancreas, kidneys and different parts of the body. A complete blood mobile count number indicates your stage of white and pink blood cells. A high white blood cell count can mean you have got an infection.

  • Ultrasound of your abdomen. This noninvasive check makes use of excessive-frequency sound waves to determine how blood is flowing through your blood vessels. It can display if the celiac artery is compressed, especially when breathing in and out deeply.

  • Upper endoscopy. This technique, also called esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD), is accomplished to view the esophagus, belly and upper part of the small gut (duodenum). During an EGD, the medical doctor lightly courses a long, bendy tube with a digicam on the end (endoscope) down your throat after numbing a medicinal drug is implemented. If wished, the health practitioner can take tissue samples (biopsy) at some stage in this process.

  • Gastric emptying studies. Compression of the celiac artery can sluggish the fee of stomach emptying. Gastric emptying studies are performed to decide how rapid your stomach empties its contents. Slow or behind schedule gastric emptying may be from different medical situations.

  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). An MRI uses effective magnets and radio waves to supply special snap shots of the body place being studied. Sometimes, dye is injected right into a blood vessel to more virtually display how blood acts through your arteries and veins (magnetic resonance angiogram).

  • Computerized tomography (CT) of the abdomen. CT makes use of X-rays to create three-D pics of the body region examined. A belly CT experiment can show if the celiac artery is narrowed or blocked. If the diagnosis is still uncertain after different imaging tests are accomplished, your physician may additionally inject a dye right into a blood vessel to focus on blood waft in your arteries and veins (CT angiogram).

Treatment Median arcuate ligament syndrome (MALS)

MALS is a continual situation, so it received its leave on its personal.

MALS is treated by slicing the median arcuate ligament so that it may not compress the celiac artery and surrounding nerves anymore. This can be finished through a laparoscopic manner, the usage of surgical contraptions inserted via numerous small incisions inside the skin, or via open surgical treatment.

Often that’s the handiest treatment wished. But if signs don’t go away, your health practitioner can also advocate another process to either place a stent to preserve the artery open or insert a graft to pass the slim area of the celiac artery.

Surgery is the simplest remedy option for MALS. The maximum not unusual process is known as median arcuate ligament launch, or median arcuate ligament decompression. It's usually achieved as an open surgical operation however now and again may be achieved as a minimally invasive (laparoscopic or robot) technique.

While you're underneath popular anesthesia, a doctor divides the median arcuate ligament and network of nerves in the stomach area (celiac plexus). Doing so presents extra room for the artery, restores blood waft and relieves strain on the nerves.

Some human beings with MALS can also need an open surgical treatment to repair or replace a blocked celiac artery and completely repair blood waft (revascularization).

If you have got MALS launch surgery, you may normally live within the health facility for two to a few days. You'll want an ultrasound about a month after surgical procedure to verify that blood flow via the celiac artery is completely restored. Several studies have proven that surgical procedure to release the median arcuate ligament is secure, even in youngsters with MALS. It often results in instantaneous pain comfort and improves the individual's first-class of existence.

Lifestyle and home remedies

Pain and stress often arise in a cycle. Pain could make you experience burdened, and strain can make acne worse. MALS pain may additionally make it tough to eat, exercise, sleep and do regular duties. Relaxation strategies, together with deep breathing and meditation, might also ease pain and raise your intellectual fitness.

Coping and support

Living with MALS might also make you experience sadness, tension or depression. The assignment of getting an accurate prognosis — and having such a lot of scientific assessments — may be overwhelming. Sharing your mind and feelings with others who've similar reports can be useful. A guide organization can offer emotional aid and help you learn about new coping abilities. The National MALS Foundation provides statistics and connections for people with median arcuate ligament syndrome. Or, ask your medical doctor, sanatorium or health facility if they are able to recommend an assistance group in your location.

Preparing for your appointment

If you suspect you've got a belly ache that does not depart, or assume you can have median arcuate ligament syndrome, it is important that you make an appointment with your physician. If median arcuate ligament syndrome is located early, remedy may be greater powerful.

A doctor's appointment can be quick, and there is usually a lot to talk about. So it's an excellent idea to be well organized for your appointment. Writing down your list of questions or concerns is certainly one of many steps you can take to get prepared on your health practitioner's visit.

What you can do

  • Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions. When you are making the appointment, make sure to ask if there is something you want to do earlier, together with not consuming or eating something for a few hours. You may additionally want to do that if your physician orders blood or imaging tests.

  • Write down all your symptoms, including any that may seem unrelated to median arcuate ligament syndrome.

  • Write down key personal information, Along with any family records of coronary heart disease, stroke, high blood strain, blood clots, and any foremost stresses or current lifestyles changes.

  • Make a list of all medications, vitamins or supplements that you're taking.

  • Bring a family member or friend with you, If viable. Sometimes it can be difficult to understand and don't forget all the records received at some point of an appointment. The person who is going with you may bear in mind some thing which you missed or forgot.

  • Write down questions to ask your doctor.

List your questions from maximum to least important, in case time runs out. For median arcuate ligament syndrome, some fundamental inquiries to ask your doctor consist of:

  • What is likely causing my symptoms or condition?

  • What are other possible causes for my symptoms or condition?

  • What kinds of tests will I need?

  • What's the most appropriate treatment?

  • What's an appropriate level of physical activity?

  • What are the alternatives to the primary approach that you're suggesting?

  • I have other health conditions. How can I best manage them together?

  • Are there any restrictions that I need to follow?

  • Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take home with me? What websites do you recommend visiting?

Don't hesitate to ask your doctor additional questions during your appointment.

What to expect from your doctor

Your physician is in all likelihood to invite you some questions. Being equipped to answer them may keep time to move over any concerns you want to spend greater time on. Your physician may additionally ask:

  • When did you first start having symptoms?

  • Do you always have symptoms or do they come and go?

  • How severe is your pain?

  • What, if anything, seems to make your symptoms better?

  • What, if anything, makes your symptoms worse?

General summary

median arcuate ligament syndrome (mals)

MALS is a rare disease that causes the median arcuate ligament to shrink which in turn results in abdominal pain and bloating This condition also sometimes causes discomfort in the lower-back area MALS was first described in 1967 but it is not fully understood.

Can MALS be treated without surgery?

Although there are several ways to get MALS treated the most effective way is through surgery However this may not always be necessary depending on the severity of the disease For example if you only have mild symptoms and do not have a weakened immune system you may be advised to treat the condition with medication instead of surgery.

How successful is MALS surgery?

MALS surgery is the most common form of treatment for the early stages of sleep apnea MALSSurgery has been found effective in 86-94% of patients and reduces apnea by an average of 90%.

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Median arcuate ligament syndrome (MALS): Causes, Types, Symptoms, Diagnosis ,Treatment , Risk factors  , Complications , Prevention

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