Angina is a term usually reserved in common usage for chest pain - also called cardiac angina or angina pectoris. Angina is however a more general term meaning "pain". Abdominal angina is a symptom related almost exclusively to a condition called mesenteric ischemia.

Abdominal angina is caused by a pain response to any state causing restricted circulation to the arteries supplying the stomach, small intestine, or large intestine. It generally occurs 30 minutes to an hour post-prandial (after eating), and may last several hours. As it is visceral pain, it tends to be poorly localized, and like the initial pain of appendicitis, often occurs diffusely around the navel.

The pain response has the same basis as pain caused by any other form of ischemia, including pain seen in peripheral vascular disease (hardening of the arteries), atherosclerotic coronary vascular disease (blockages of the heart vessels), and cerebrovascular disease (low blood flow to the brain).

Unexplained abdominal pain is the bane of many health care practitioners. Abdominal angina in the absence of a condition to explain its presence should lead to a suspicion of, and testing for, mesenteric ischemia.

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