Angiodysplasia of the colon

Colonic angiodysplasiaDescription, Causes and Risk Factors:Colonic angiodysplasia  is swollen, fragile blood vessels in the colon that occasionally result in blood loss from the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Angiodysplasia of the colon is mostly related to the aging and degeneration of the blood vessels. It usually occurs in older adults. It is almost always seen on the right side of the colon.There are several theories about the cause. The most likely cause is that normal spasms of the colon lead to enlargement of blood vessels in the area. This swelling becomes so severe that a small direct passageway develops between a very small artery and vein. This is called an arteriovenous fistula. It is in this area of the colon wall that the patient is at risk for bleeding.Risk Factors:Injury to the GI tract.
  • Heart problems.
  • Kidney problems.
  • Lung problems.
  • von Willebrand syndrome.
  • Blood vessel problems.
  • Normal contractions of the colon.
The exact mechanism of development of colonic angiodysplasia  is not known. One prominent hypothesis accounts for the high prevalence of these lesions in the right colon and is based on the wall tension to luminal size.Colonic angiodysplasiaSymptoms:People with colonic angiodysplasia  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:Tests that may be done to diagnose this condition include:Angiography (only useful if there is active bleeding into the colon).
  • Complete blood count (CBC) to check for anemia.
  • Colonoscopy.Selective mesenteric angiography is a useful diagnostic technique, especially in patients with massive bleeding in whom a colonoscopic diagnosis is difficult.
  • Stool test for occult (hidden) blood (a positive test result suggests bleeding from the colon).
Treatment:It is important to determine what is causing the bleeding in the colon and how fast 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. Most patients stop bleeding on their own without any 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 instances, surgery is the only option. Removal of the entire right side of the colon (right hemicolectomy) is the treatment of choice for someone with this condition who continues to bleed at a dangerously quick rate, despite several treatments by angiography and colonoscopy.Hormonal therapy with estrogen can be helpful for some causes.NOTE: The above information is educational purpose. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition.DISCLAIMER: This information should not substitute for seeking responsible, professional medical care.

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