Vascular Compression Syndromes Overview

For anyone looking for information, theories, or research

on vascular compression syndromes and disorders:

This article is one of the best and most insightful papers I’ve read to date on vascular compression syndromes. It is helpful because it’s simple and easy to understand as well.

PROF Scholbach’s Website – Link to Original Article 

Updated 10/7/2015


“Abdominal complaints often have a simple cause, which can be clarified easily, especially if they occur suddenly or show clearly recognizable correlations with other symptoms (e.g. diarrhea, vomiting, and fever). However, if abdominal pain, lasts for a long time, over weeks or months, elaborate tests are often required in order to clarify their cause. Not rarely, the origin of the pain may remain enigmatic, so that psychological causes and specific living conditions are considered as the main cause or trigger of the complaints.

And yet, hardly anyone is aware that a number of patients suffer from compression of blood vessels or compression of organs by abdominal blood vessels, the so-called vascular compression syndromes. Since these diseases may give rise to many, seemingly unrelated symptoms in addition to pain, they are explained here for a broader audience. So-called vegetative symptoms play a significant role in the suffering of patients with vascular compression syndromes. These very annoying symptoms as nausea, dizziness, respiratory disabilities (primarily inhalation), loss of appetite and rapid satiety, (nearly) fainting on exertion and episodes of diarrhea are found very frequently. They emerge in addition to pain or even isolated. Left-sided flank pain and abdominal pain are the predominant pain localizations but from there the pain may radiate to the back or the chest, sometimes to the left thigh. Headaches are not rarely found and may be exaggerated during physical exercises, may be throbbing and emerge preferentially in the nape.

We often receive inquiries from patients from abroad, looking for advice and a comprehensible explanation of their complaints as well as the anatomical and functional implications of vascular compression syndromes. Therefore, this article is written to ease the understanding of these conditions. It is written in simple, mainly nonmedical terms and directed to lay people. If there remain questions concerning specific circumstances of your own condition – then simply write by email to:”

(Scholbach, 2014)

Some of the highlights from this paper

I found to be most helpful or interesting:

“All abdominal vascular compression syndromes are caused by the discrepancy between the anatomy of man, which corresponds in principle to a quadruped mammal, and the upright posture of human beings” (Scholbach, 2014).

“With the onset of puberty, the anatomical differences in the skeleton in both sexes increase significantly, and may exert a great influence on the venous blood flow to the abdominal and pelvic organs. The female pelvis is wider and deeper than the male one, and thus causes a positional change of the pelvis and the lumbar spine” (Scholbach, 2014).

“The compression of the left renal vein at the nutcracker phenomenon leads to a number of unpleasant consequences. The renal blood accumulates in the obstructed vein and its pressure rises. The vein enlarges, its tributaries cannot empty into the vein, they dilate and in many cases the blood flow turns backwards into these tributaries. They become collateral pathways for the left renal vein” (Scholbach, 2014).

“Since both the left renal vein, coming from the left, and the duodenum, coming from the right, must pass the aorto-mesenteric angle, also called the “nutcracker”, both the nutcracker phenomenon and the superior mesenteric artery syndrome can occur simultaneously. Due to the compression of the duodenum, the patients experience a failure of food transport a short time after starting the food intake. The chyme backs up at the compression site, a few centimeters after leaving the stomach. Frequently, patients report sensations of loud peristalsis, bubbling, and sudden change of symptoms “as if something slips through”. Nausea and vomiting often terrify the affected ones and they try to prevent these ordeals by reducing food intake, which in turn, over time, intensifies the suffering since in meagre persons the aorto-mesenteric angle tends to become even narrower” (Scholbach, 2014).

“This brief description of the different vascular compression syndromes for lay people should make clear, how many and apparently unrelated symptoms might be caused by the imperfect human maladaptation to the bipedal gait” (Scholbach, 2014).

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