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 ageHeart problemsHistory of blood vessel problems or GI tract bleedingKidney problems
A blood disorder called von Willebrands disease
Symptoms of angiodysplasia of the colon may include: Dark, tarry stoolsBleeding from the rectumAnemiaWeaknessFatigueShortness 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 testsStool tests
Imaging tests help evaluate internal structures. Some may use contrast material to make them easier to see. Imaging tests may include: ColonoscopyUpper GI endoscopyCapsule endoscopyAbdominal CT scanAngiography
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.
There are no current guidelines to prevent angiodysplasia of the colon.
Gastrointestinal angiodysplasia. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:
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.
Last reviewed February 2016 by Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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