• Angiodysplasia of the Colon

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

    Definition

    Angiodysplasia of the colon occurs when enlarged and fragile blood vessels in the colon result in occasional bleeding in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. If you think you may have this condition, contact your doctor immediately.
    Normal Anatomy of the Intestines
    Normal Anatomy of the Large and Small Intestine
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

    Causes

    Angiodysplasia of the colon can be caused by:

    Risk Factors

    A risk factor is something that increases your chance of getting a disease or condition. If you are over 60 years old, you are at increased risk of having angiodysplasia of the colon.

    Symptoms

    People with angiodysplasia of the colon may or may not have symptoms. If you experience any of these symptoms do not assume it is due to angiodysplasia of the colon. These symptoms may be caused by other health conditions. If you experience any one of them, see your physician.
    • Bleeding from the rectum
    • Anemia
    • Weakness
    • Fatigue
    • Shortness of breath
    • Dark, tarry stools

    Diagnosis

    Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Tests may include the following:

    Treatment

    Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment may not be necessary, since about 90% of cases of angiodysplasia of the colon stop bleeding on their own. Treatment options include the following:

    Colonoscopy

    Your doctor can often cauterize (burn tissues with heat to seal bleeding blood vessels) the site of the bleeding during a colonoscopy.

    Angiography

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

    Medical Therapy

    Hormonal therapy with estrogen can be helpful for some causes.

    Surgery

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

    Prevention

    There is no known way to prevent angiodysplasia of the colon.

    RESOURCES

    AGS Foundation for Health in Aging http://www.healthinaging.org

    National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/index.htm

    CANADIAN RESOURCES

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

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

    References

    Angiodysplasia. DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed . Updated October 30, 2012. Accessed November 5, 2012.

    American Gastroenterological Association. AGA guideline: evaluation and management of occult and obscure gastrointestinal bleeding. Gastroenterology . 2000;118:197.

    Revision Information


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