Angiodysplasia of the Colon
(Colonic Angiodysplasia, Arteriovenous Malformations [AVM] of the Colon)
Angiodysplasia of the colon occurs when enlarged and fragile blood vessels in the colon result in occasional bleeding in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. If you think you may have this condition, contact your doctor immediately.
Angiodysplasia of the colon can be caused by:
A risk factor is something that increases your chance of getting a disease or condition. If you are over 60 years old, you are at increased risk of having angiodysplasia of the colon.
People with angiodysplasia of the colon 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.
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Tests may include the following:
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment may not be necessary, since about 90% of cases of angiodysplasia of the colon stop bleeding on their own. Treatment options include the following:
Your doctor can often cauterize (burn tissues with heat to seal bleeding blood vessels) the site of the bleeding during a colonoscopy.
The blood supply to the bleeding area can be clotted through angiography.
Hormonal therapy with estrogen can be helpful for some causes.
Surgery to remove the affected area of the colon may sometimes be necessary.
AGS Foundation for Health in Aging
National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse
Canadian Association of Gastroenterology
Canadian Digestive Health Foundation
Angiodysplasia. DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed . Updated October 30, 2012. Accessed November 5, 2012.
American Gastroenterological Association. AGA guideline: evaluation and management of occult and obscure gastrointestinal bleeding. Gastroenterology . 2000;118:197.
Last reviewed November 2012 by Daus Mahnke, MD