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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Atypical Presentation of Median Arcuate Ligament Syndrome in the Emergency Department


Celiac artery compression syndrome, also called median arcuate ligament syndrome (MALS), is a rare condition in which the diaphragmatic crura compresses the celiac axis. This results in a constellation of primarily gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms including nausea, vomiting, postprandial abdominal pain, and weight loss. It is typically a diagnosis of exclusion and may be detected via several imaging techniques including ultrasound and computed tomography angiography. We present an atypical case of MALS detected in the emergency department (ED). We review the symptomatology, diagnostic workup, and treatment options here, as well as discuss implications concerning revisits to the ED for recurrent GI symptoms.

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