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I report five cases of occlusion of the superior mesenteric artery from one general practice; four of these occurred in one year.
The common clinical features were: acute diarrhoea and vomiting in elderly persons (all over 70) with abdominal pain and distension and shock. All had a previous history of auricular fibrillation and cardiac failure and past episodes of clinical arterial occlusive disorders had been experienced by four. Each diagnosis was confirmed at operation and all five patients died. It is important for general practitioners to recognize this syndrome.