Medical Q&As

Angiodysplasia of the colon - explain?

Can you tell me anything about angiodysplasia of the colon?

Angiodysplasia is a condition of dilation, distortion, or thinning of blood vessels in the colon that results in intermittent loss of blood from the intestines. The cause is unknown. It is commonest in people over fifty years old. It usually presents with painless bleeding from the gut. Some people present with melaena, which is a sign of intestinal bleeding that is revealed through the passage of black tarry stools. Very often the bleeding is self-limiting and subsides spontaneously. In the case of a significant bleed arteriography may be necessary to identify the bleeding point. This technique involves the injection of a special dye into the blood vessels that supply the colon. It is similar in many ways to the technique of coronary angiography that is used for studying the coronary arteries. Bleeding may be controlled during arteriography by cautery or laser. If bleeding cannot be controlled during arteriography or if the bleeding is excessive the affected portion of the colon may need to be surgically removed. The prognosis with angiodysplasia is good once the primary source of bleeding has been treated.