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Medical Science Monitor Basic Research


Combined Superior Mesenteric Artery Syndrome and Nutcracker Syndrome in a Young Patient: A Case Report and Review of the Literature

Challenging differential diagnosis, Rare coexistence of disease or pathology

Samer Diab, Fadi Hayek

Lebanon Department of General Surgery, Lebanese American University Medical Center – Rizk Hospital, Beirut, Lebanon

Am J Case Rep 2020; 21:e922619

DOI: 10.12659/AJCR.922619

Available online: 2020-06-22

Published: 2020-08-09


BACKGROUND: Superior mesenteric artery syndrome is the compression of the third portion of the duodenum between the superior mesenteric artery and the aorta causing abdominal pain and vomiting. Nutcracker syndrome is the compression of the left renal vein between the superior mesenteric artery and the aorta causing symptoms related to renal congestion. Both entities, although well described in the literature, are individually rare, and even though they might share a common etiology, their co-existence has been reported in only a few case reports.
CASE REPORT: An 18-year-old male, previously healthy, presented with postprandial abdominal pain relieved by bilious vomiting that started shortly after he lost weight fasting. Our investigation revealed superior mesenteric artery syndrome as well as a compressed left renal vein. He was started on an enriched fluid diet which was progressed gradually as he regained weight. His left renal vein compression at the time was asymptomatic; it will be followed up for possible resolution after the patient’s weight returns to normal.
CONCLUSIONS: Superior mesenteric artery syndrome is to be suspected in patients with abdominal pain following weight loss. Conservative treatment with a focus on weight regain will cure most cases. Asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic nutcracker syndrome is treated conservatively. For patients requiring intervention, laparoscopic extravascular titanium stent placement seems to be the least invasive promising option today, awaiting further definitive studies.

Keywords: Rare Diseases, Renal Nutcracker Syndrome, Superior Mesenteric Artery Syndrome