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Angiodysplasia of the Colon
(Colonic Angiodysplasia, Arteriovenous Malformations [AVM] of the Colon)
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|
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Angiodysplasia of the colon is caused by dilated connections between veins and capillaries or arteries in the colon.
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 of angiodysplasia of the colon may include:
- Dark, tarry stools
- Bleeding from the rectum
- Shortness of breath
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:
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:
Your doctor can often treat tissues with heat to seal bleeding blood vessels during a colonoscopy. Rebleeding is common.
The blood supply to the bleeding area can be clotted through angiography.
Medications called somatostatin analogs may be used to prevent bleeding in some people.
Surgery to remove the affected area of the colon may sometimes be necessary.
American Geriatrics Society Foundation for Health in Aging
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Canadian Association of Gastroenterology
Canadian Digestive Health Foundation
Gastrointestinal angiodysplasia. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated July 14, 2015. Accessed February 15, 2016.
6/19/2014 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Jackson CS, Gerson LB. Management of gastrointestinal angiodysplastic lesions (GIADs): A systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Gastroenterol. 2014;109(4):474-483.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 02/2016
- Update Date: 06/19/2014