Semin intervent Radiol 2009; 26(3): 224-232
DOI: 10.1055/s-0029-1225666
© Thieme Medical Publishers

Segmental Arterial Mediolysis

Christine P. Chao1
  • 1Department of Radiology, Kaiser Permanente, San Rafael, California
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12. August 2009 (online)


Segmental arterial mediolysis (SAM) is a nonatherosclerotic, noninflammatory arteriopathy, which is characterized by dissecting aneurysms resulting from lysis of the outer media of the arterial wall. The most common presentation is abdominal pain and hemorrhage in the elderly. Computed tomography (CT) and angiography imaging findings overlap with various vasculitides and include segmental changes of aneurysm and stenosis. A key distinguishing feature is the presence of dissections, the principle morphologic expression of SAM. Differentiation and exclusion of an inflammatory arteritis is crucial in appropriate management, as immunosuppressants generally used for treatment of vasculitis may be ineffective or even worsen the vasculopathy. Although the disease can be self-limiting without treatment or with conservative medical therapy, the acute process carries a 50% mortality rate and may necessitate urgent surgical and/or endovascular therapy. Prompt recognition and diagnosis are therefore of utmost importance in appropriate management of this rare entity.


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Christine P ChaoM.D. 

Department of Radiology, Kaiser Permanente

99 Montecillo Road, San Rafael, CA 94903