Pediatric median arcuate ligament syndrome: Surgical outcomes and quality of life

Daniel D. Joyce, Ryan M. Antiel, Gustavo Oderich, Peter Gloviczki, Jeanne Tung, Rayna Grothe, Imad Absah, Abdalla E. Zarroug

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Background: The existence, etiology, diagnosis, and treatment of median arcuate ligament syndrome (MALS) have long been subjects of debate. To our knowledge, there have not been any studies assessing the effectiveness of surgical treatment in improving physical and psychological quality of life in pediatric patients. Subjects and Methods: This is an Institutional Review Board-approved prospective study including all patients undergoing surgical treatment of MALS between 2009 and 2012 at our institution. Demographic information, presenting symptoms, radiological imaging, procedure duration, hospital length of stay, and perioperative complications were gathered for analysis. Patients and their parents were asked to complete the Child Health Questionnaire, a physical and psychological health survey, both within 1 week prior to and at least 3 months following their surgery. Results: Six patients underwent laparoscopic release for MALS. The majority of patients were female (n=5 [83.3%]), with an average age of 15.7±1.5 years. Presenting symptoms lasted on average 16.5±12.7 months prior to treatment. Average pre-and postsurgical ultrasound celiac artery peak velocities with inspiration were 332.0±34.1 cm/second and 224.3±31.2 cm/second, respectively, with a statistically significant decrease of 107.67 cm/second (P=.03). The average follow-up period from time of surgery to time of quality of life survey completion was 13±11.3 months, with a range of 3-29 months. A significant improvement from pre-to postsurgical scores was observed in the physical functioning (P=.03), mental health (P=.03), and self-esteem categories (P=.03) of the child assessment. Similarly, there was a significant postsurgical improvement in all categories pertaining to the parent's quality of life (P=.03). Improvement was also seen in the parents' perception of their child's physical functioning (P=.03), bodily pain/discomfort (P=.03), mental health (P=.03), and general health perceptions (P=.03). No intraoperative or postoperative complications occurred. Conclusions: Our preliminary results demonstrate that laparoscopic median arcuate ligament release for MALS in the pediatric population is safe and effective and improves overall quality of life for the patients and their parents. In carefully selected patients, laparoscopic release for MALS without additional celiac artery reconstruction normalizes blood flow in the celiac artery and improves physical and psychosocial quality of life for the child and his or her parents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)104-110
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Laparoendoscopic and Advanced Surgical Techniques
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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