Angiodysplasiae in the small bowel can also be diagnosed and treated with double-balloon enteroscopy, a technique involving a long endoscopic camera and overtube, both fitted with balloons, that allow the bowel to be accordioned over the camera.
In cases with negative endoscopic findings and high clinical suspicion, selective angiography of the mesenteric arteries is sometimes necessary, but this allows for interventions at time of the procedure. An alternative is scintigraphy with red blood cells labeled with a radioactive marker; this shows the site of the bleeding on a gamma camera but tends to be unhelpful unless the bleeding is continuous and significant.
Although angiodysplasia is probably quite common, the risk of bleeding is increased in disorders of coagulation. A classic association is Heyde's syndrome (coincidence of aortic valve stenosis and bleeding from angiodysplasia). In this disorder, von Willebrand factor (vWF) is proteolysed due to high shear stress in the highly turbulent blood flow around the aortic valve. vWF is most active in vascular beds with high shear stress, including angiodysplasias, and deficiency of vWF increases the bleeding risk from such lesions.
Warkentin et al argue that apart from aortic valve stenosis, some other conditions that feature high shear stress might also increase the risk of bleeding from angiodysplasia.
If the bleeding is from multiple or inaccessible sites, systemic therapy with medication may be necessary. First-line options include the antifibrinolytics tranexamic acid or aminocaproic acid. Estrogens can be used to stop bleeding from angiodysplasia. Estrogens cause mild hypercoaguability of the blood. Estrogen side effects can be dangerous and unpleasant in both sexes. Changes in voice and breast swelling is bothersome in men, but older women often report improvement of libido and perimenopausal symptoms. (The worries about hormone replacement therapy/HRT, however, apply here as well.)
In difficult cases, there have been positive reports about octreotide and thalidomide,
In severe cases or cases not responsive to either endoscopic or medical treatment, surgery may be necessary to arrest the bleeding.
Researchers from Shimane University, Department of Internal Medicine report details of new studies and findings in the area of angiodysplasia.
Sep 25, 2010; Scientists discuss in 'Successful endoscopic clipping for bleeding from colonic Angiodysplasia in a case of Heyde...