“Angiodysplasia” is the medical term for blood vessels that become abnormal. These abnormal blood vessels also can be called “angioectasias,” “arteriovenous malformations,” or “AVMs.” In angiodysplasia of the gi tract, blood vessels along the gi tract become abnormal. This condition can lead to problems. When blood vessels are abnormal, they will bleed very easily and people can have bleeding in the gut. The medical term for bleeding within the gi tract is a “GI bleed.” Angiodysplasia of the gi tract happens most often in older adults.
Symptoms depend on whether the abnormal blood vessels bleed or not.
If the abnormal blood vessels don’t bleed, people don’t have any symptoms. They find out they have the condition after their doctor does tests for another reason.
If the abnormal blood vessels bleed, people might or might not realize they have a GI bleed. When a GI bleed causes symptoms, it can cause bloody or tar-colored stools. But some people with a GI bleed have no symptoms and don’t see any blood. People might not see any blood when the bleeding happens very slowly over time.
A GI bleed sometimes leads to a condition called “anaemia,” which is when the body has too few red blood cells – low hemoglobin level. Anaemia can make people feel tired or weak.
Yes. Doctors can do different tests to check for angiodysplasia of the gi tract. The test you’ve got depends on which part of the gi tract your doctor wants to check. the different tests can include:
- An upper endoscopy – This procedure lets the doctor look at the inside of your esophagus (the tube from the mouth to the stomach), stomach, and duodenum (the first part of the little intestine). During this test, the doctor puts a thin tube with a camera and light on the end into your mouth and down your esophagus.
- A colonoscopy – This procedure lets the doctor look at the inside of the large intestine (colon). During this test, the doctor puts a thin tube with a camera and light on the end into your anus and up your rectum and colon.
- A capsule endoscopy – This test uses a small camera about the size of a pill. You swallow the camera, and it sends pictures of your gut to a recording device at a belt for 8 hours. After the test, the camera leaves your body during a bowel movement.
- A CT scan – A CT scan is an imaging test that makes pictures of the within of the body.
Treatment depends on whether the abnormal blood vessels are bleeding, and if you’ve got anaemia. In most cases, people only need treatment if the abnormal blood vessels are bleeding or they need anaemia. those that don’t have bleeding or anaemia usually don’t need any treatment. It is treated endoscopically e.g. laser therapy. Very rarely it requires surgery, that involves surgical removal of affected part of intestine.