SMA syndrome is short for superior mesenteric artery syndrome, which is also known as Wilkie's syndrome and mesenteric root syndrome. SMA syndrome is a very serious and rare life-threatening disorder of the gastro-vascular system, defined by compression of the duodenum by the abdominal aorta and the superior mesenteric artery that gives the syndrome its name. It can be a congenital defect with chronic results or it can be acute, induced by traumatic events causing the SMA to hyperextend. Prolonged bed rest, particularly in a body cast, can cause SMA syndrome, as can spinal cord injury and surgery for scoliosis of the spine.
Symptoms of SMA syndrome can be as simple as nausea and as severe as malnutrition compared with spontaneous wasting, intense vomiting up of partially digested food, and abdominal distention and distortion. These symptoms are very serious and anyone experiencing them should immediately contact a physician for a complete exam for SMA syndrome.
Though rare, SMA syndrome has a very high mortality rate of one in three. Delayed diagnosis, resulting in the more severe effects of the syndrome including advanced malnutrition, are the main cause of demise in those suffering from SMA syndrome. Treatment falls into two categories, conservative and surgical. Conservative treatments are predominantly nutrition and diet based. Surgical treatments for SMA syndrome involve the creation of an anastomosis (reconnection) between the duodenum and jejunum to bypass the compression SMA syndrome causes.
SMA syndrome is very serious, but, luckily, very rare. If you are worried you may have SMA syndrome, contact a physician immediately.