Early diagnosis saves lives
As with other arteries such as those supplying the kidneys, clots can occur in the blood vessels supplying the bowel.
APS patients whose intestinal blood supply is affected by a clot can experience sudden and severe abdominal pain, fever, vomiting, diarrhoea and blood in the stool. In some cases major surgery will be required to remove part of the bowel.
If the intestinal arteries become partially blocked or narrowed by clots, this can lead to a condition known as abdominal angina (known medically as mesenteric angina). The main symptom is stomach pain usually experienced after eating a big meal – a time when the bowel needs its best blood supply.
Treatment with anticoagulants has been shown to be effective in a number of patients, but others have to have part of the bowel removed. The patient who kindly agreed to be the case study in the 2015 British Medical Journal's A Patient's Journey had a large clot in her bowel.
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