Vascular ectasia of the colon; Colonic arteriovenous malformation
Exams and Tests
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
Stool test for occult (hidden) blood (a positive test result suggests bleeding from the colon)
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
Patients who have bleeding related to this condition despite having had colonoscopy, angiography, or surgery are likely to have more bleeding in the future.
The outlook remains good if the bleeding is controlled.
Call your health provider if rectal bleeding occurs.
There is no known prevention.
George F. Longstreth, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program, San Diego, California. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.