MediFind
Condition

Angiodysplasia of the Colon

Condition 101

What is the definition of Angiodysplasia of the Colon?

Angiodysplasia of the colon is swollen, fragile blood vessels in the colon. This can result in blood loss from the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.

What are the alternative names for Angiodysplasia of the Colon?

Vascular ectasia of the colon; Colonic arteriovenous malformation; Hemorrhage - angiodysplasia; Bleed - angiodysplasia; Gastrointestinal bleeding - angiodysplasia; G.I. bleed - angiodysplasia

What are the causes for Angiodysplasia of the Colon?

Angiodysplasia of the colon is mostly related to the aging and breakdown of the blood vessels. It is more common in older adults. It is almost always seen on the right side of the colon.

Most likely, the problem develops out of normal spasms of the colon that cause the blood vessels in the area to enlarge. When this swelling becomes severe, a tiny passageway develops between a small artery and vein. This is called an arteriovenous malformation. Bleeding can occur from this area in the colon wall.

Rarely, angiodysplasia of the colon is related to other diseases of the blood vessels. One of these is Osler-Weber-Rendu syndrome. The condition is not related to cancer. It is also different than diverticulosis, which is a more common cause of intestinal bleeding in older adults.

What are the symptoms for Angiodysplasia of the Colon?

The symptoms vary.

Older people may have symptoms such as:

  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath due to anemia

They may not have noticeable bleeding directly from the colon.

Other people may have bouts of mild or severe bleeding in which bright red or black blood comes from the rectum.

There is no pain associated with angiodysplasia.

What are the current treatments for Angiodysplasia of the Colon?

It is important to find the cause of bleeding in the colon and how fast the blood is being lost. You may need to be admitted to a hospital. Fluids may be given through a vein, and blood products may be required.

Other treatment may be needed once the source of bleeding is found. In most cases, the bleeding stops on its own without treatment.

If treatment is needed, it may involve:

  • Angiography to help block the blood vessel that is bleeding or to deliver medicine to help cause the blood vessels to tighten to stop the bleeding
  • Burning (cauterizing) the site of the bleed with heat or a laser using a colonoscope

In some cases, surgery is the only option. You may need the entire right side of the colon (right hemicolectomy) removed if heavy bleeding continues, even after other treatments have been tried. Medicines (thalidomide and estrogens) may be used to help control the disease in some people.

What is the outlook (prognosis) for Angiodysplasia of the Colon?

People who have bleeding related to this condition despite having had colonoscopy, angiography, or surgery are likely to have more bleeding in the future.

The outlook remains good if the bleeding is controlled.

What are the possible complications for Angiodysplasia of the Colon?

Complications may include:

  • Anemia
  • Death from excessive blood loss
  • Side effects from treatment
  • Severe loss of blood from the GI tract

When should I contact a medical professional for Angiodysplasia of the Colon?

Call your health provider if rectal bleeding occurs.

How do I prevent Angiodysplasia of the Colon?

There is no known prevention.

REFERENCES

Brandt LJ, Aroniadis OC. Vascular disorders of the gastrointestinal tract. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 37.

Ibanez MB, Munoz-Navas M. Occult and unexplained chronic gastrointestinal bleeding. In: Chandrasekhara V, Elmunzer J, Khashab MA, Muthusamy VR, eds. Clinical Gastrointestinal Endoscopy. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 18.

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Latest Research

Latest Advance
Study
  • Condition: Angiodysplasia/Refractory GI Bleeding
  • Journal: The Journal of heart and lung transplantation : the official publication of the International Society for Heart Transplantation
  • Treatment Used: Thalidomide
  • Number of Patients: 4
  • Published —
This study evaluated the effectiveness of thalidomide for refractory GI bleeding (GI bleeding that is resistant to treatment) due to angiodysplasia (small vascular malformation of the gut) in patients with continuous flow left ventricular assist device (helps pump blood from the left ventricle of the heart and on to the rest of the body; cfLVAD).
Latest Advance
Study
  • Condition: Gastrointestinal Angiodysplasia (GIAD)
  • Journal: The Journal of heart and lung transplantation : the official publication of the International Society for Heart Transplantation
  • Treatment Used: Digoxin
  • Number of Patients: 7
  • Published —
This study evaluated the effectiveness of digoxin (medication used to treat various heart conditions) in patients with gastrointestinal angiodysplasia (when blood vessels in the gastrointestinal tract become swollen; GIAD).
Latest Advance
Study
  • Condition: Patients with HeartMate II Continuous-Flow Left Ventricular Assist Device Support
  • Journal: The International journal of artificial organs
  • Treatment Used: Long-Term Discontinuation of Anti-Thrombotic Therapy
  • Number of Patients: 87
  • Published —
This study evaluated the safety of discontinuing all anti-thrombotic therapies of patients with ventricular assist device in response to recurrent bleeding events requiring hospitalization.
Latest Advance
Study
  • Condition: Gastrointestinal angiodysplasia with type 3 von Willebrand disease
  • Journal: Blood coagulation & fibrinolysis : an international journal in haemostasis and thrombosis
  • Treatment Used: Endoscopic coagulation and prophylactic therapy
  • Number of Patients: 3
  • Published —
The study researched the outcomes of 3 patients with gastrointestinal angiodysplasia with type 3 von Willebrand disease.

Clinical Trials

Clinical Trial
Diagnostic Test
  • Status: Recruiting
  • Study Type: Diagnostic Test
  • Participants: 100
  • Start Date: November 11, 2019
Efficacy of Narrow Band Spectrum Endoscopy Versus Histopathology for the Diagnosis of Gastric Antral Vascular Ectasia in Patients With Liver Cirrhosis