• Angiodysplasia of the Colon

    (Colonic Angiodysplasia, Arteriovenous Malformations [AVM] of the Colon)

    Definition

    Angiodysplasia of the colon occurs when blood vessels in the colon (large intestine) enlarge. They may become fragile and result in occasional bleeding in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.
    Normal Anatomy of the Intestines
    Normal Anatomy of the Large and Small Intestine
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

    Causes

    Angiodysplasia of the colon is caused by dilated connections between veins and capillaries or arteries in the colon.

    Risk Factors

    Factors that may increase your chance of angiodysplasia of the colon include:
    • Increasing age
    • Heart problems
    • History of blood vessel problems or GI tract bleeding
    • Kidney problems
    • A blood disorder called von Willebrands disease

    Symptoms

    Symptoms of angiodysplasia of the colon may include:
    • Dark, tarry stools
    • Bleeding from the rectum
    • Anemia
    • Weakness
    • Fatigue
    • Shortness of breath

    Diagnosis

    Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
    Your bodily fluids and waste may be tested. This can be done with:
    • Blood tests
    • Stool tests
    Imaging tests help evaluate internal structures. Some may use contrast material to make them easier to see. Imaging tests may include:

    Treatment

    Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment may not be necessary, since nearly all of cases of angiodysplasia of the colon stop bleeding on their own. Treatment options include the following:

    Colonoscopy

    Your doctor can often treat tissues with heat to seal bleeding blood vessels during a colonoscopy. Rebleeding is common.

    Angiography

    The blood supply to the bleeding area can be clotted through angiography.

    Medical Therapy

    Medications called somatostatin analogs may be used to prevent bleeding in some people.

    Surgery

    Surgery to remove the affected area of the colon may sometimes be necessary.

    Prevention

    There are no current guidelines to prevent angiodysplasia of the colon.

    RESOURCES

    American Geriatrics Society Foundation for Health in Aging http://www.healthinaging.org

    National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases http://www.niddk.nih.gov

    CANADIAN RESOURCES

    Canadian Association of Gastroenterology https://www.cag-acg.org

    Canadian Digestive Health Foundation http://www.cdhf.ca

    References

    Gastrointestinal angiodysplasia. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114051/Gastrointestinal-angiodysplasia. Updated July 14, 2015. Accessed September 27, 2016.

    6/19/2014 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114051/Gastrointestinal-angiodysplasia: Jackson CS, Gerson LB. Management of gastrointestinal angiodysplastic lesions (GIADs): A systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Gastroenterol. 2014;109(4):474-483.

    Revision Information

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