Gastrointestinal angiodysplasia

Dr Rohit Sharma and Dr Henry Knipe et al.

Gastrointestinal angiodysplasias or angioectasias are one of the most common causes of occult gastrointestinal bleeding.

Peak incidence occurs in patients in their 60-70s 3.

Patients can present with symptoms and signs upper or lower gastrointestinal bleeding although they can commonly be an incidental finding. 

Angiodysplasia refers to dilated, thin-walled blood vessels (capillaries, venules, veins) found in the mucosa and submucosa of the gastrointestinal tract. The pathogenesis is unclear 3. They are multiple in ~50% of cases 1,2, and can be found throughout the gastrointestinal tract, but most commonly in the cecum and right colon on the antimesenteric border. 

  • appear as focal areas (< 5 mm) of contrast enhancement in the bowel wall (most prominent in the enteric phase 3)
  • early filling of an antimesenteric vein 4
  • ectatic vessels but no mass 6
  • early venous enhancement indicating arteriovenous shunting

Approximately 50% of gastrointestinal hemorrhage from angiodysplasia ceases without intervention. Endovascular treatment is generally not effective and first-line treatment is interventional endoscopy. There is a post-treatment bleeding rate of ~25% 2,4.

Share article

Article information

rID: 40751
Tag: cases
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Gastrointestinal angiodysplastic lesions (GIADs)
  • Gastrointestinal angioectasias
  • Angiodysplasia of gastrointestinal tract

Support Radiopaedia and see fewer ads

Cases and figures

  • Case 1
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Updating… Please wait.

     Unable to process the form. Check for errors and try again.

     Thank you for updating your details.