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Median Arcuate Ligament Syndrome

Median Arcuate Ligament Syndrome Definition

Median arcuate ligament syndrome is compression of the celiac artery — an artery that originates from your aorta just below the diaphragm — by the median arcuate ligament, a part of the diaphragm that connects the diaphragm with the vertebrae in the lumbar region between the ribs and pelvis. 


The median arcuate ligament usually passes above the beginning of the celiac artery; when it passes lower, it can compress the artery.


There are no known risk factors for median arcuate ligament syndrome.


  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss


  • Angiography: A dye is inserted into the celiac artery through a catheter, then an X-ray is taken to show how blood flows through the arteries and whether the arteries are narrowed or blocked.
  • Computed Tomography Angiography: X-ray slices of the artery are taken to determine if there are any areas with poor blood flow or narrow arteries. To do this, the patient is injected with a dye that helps make blood vessels visible on the scan.


Surgery can be performed to relieve the compression, improving blood flow.

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