Mesenteric artery calcium scoring: a potential screening method for chronic mesenteric ischemia

Luke G. Terlouw*, Desirée van Noord, Theo van Walsum, Marco J. Bruno, Adriaan Moelker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
23 Downloads (Pure)


Objective: A practical screening tool for chronic mesenteric ischemia (CMI) could facilitate early recognition and reduce undertreatment and diagnostic delay. This study explored the ability to discriminate CMI from non-CMI patients with a mesenteric artery calcium score (MACS). Methods: This retrospective study included CTAs of consecutive patients with suspected CMI in a tertiary referral center between April 2016 and October 2019. A custom-built software module, using the Agatston definition, was developed and used to calculate the MACS for the celiac artery (CA), superior mesenteric artery (SMA), and inferior mesenteric artery. Scoring was performed by two blinded observers. Interobserver agreement was determined using 39 CTAs scored independently by both observers. CMI was defined as sustained symptom improvement after treatment. Non-CMI patients were patients not diagnosed with CMI after a diagnostic workup and patients not responding to treatment. Results: The MACS was obtained in 184 patients, 49 CMI and 135 non-CMI. Interobserver agreement was excellent (intraclass correlation coefficient 0.910). The MACS of all mesenteric arteries was significantly higher in CMI patients than in non-CMI patients. ROC analysis of the combined MACS of CA + SMA showed an acceptable AUC (0.767), high sensitivity (87.8%), and high NPV (92.1%), when using a ≥ 29.7 CA + SMA MACS cutoff. Comparison of two CTAs, obtained in the same patient at different points in time with different scan and reconstruction parameters, was performed in 29 patients and revealed significant differences in MACSs. Conclusion: MACS seems a promising screening method for CMI, but correction for scan and reconstruction parameters is warranted.

Key Points:

• A mesenteric artery calcium score obtained in celiac artery and superior mesenteric artery has a high negative predictive value for chronic mesenteric ischemia and could serve as a screening tool.

• Interobserver agreement of the mesenteric artery calcium score is excellent.

• Scan and reconstruction parameters influence the mesenteric artery calcium score and warrant the development of a method to correct for these parameters.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4212-4220
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Radiology
Issue number6
Early online date2 Dec 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021

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© 2020, The Author(s).


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