Blue rubber bleb naevus syndrome

Case contributed by Dr Yair Glick


Orbital hemorrhage with proptosis

Patient Data

Age: 65 years
Gender: Female

Head CT with thin-slice multiplanar reformation of the orbits

Lateral extraconal retrobulbar haemorrhage on the right, displacing the extraocular muscles, conal structures and optic nerve medially, and the eyeball anteriorly. The haemorrhage most probably originates from an intraorbital venous malformation seen on a previous contrast-enhanced CT of the orbits (not shown).

Numerous venous malformations scattered throughout the head and neck, some with accompanying phleboliths, affecting the orbits, parotid glands, cutaneous and subcutaneous tissues, and essentially all spaces of the head and neck.

Left temporal craniectomy.

Due to worsening anaemia, the patient underwent capsule endoscopy and abdominal CT (arterial phase not shown). The site of gastrointestinal bleeding was not demonstrated. Gastroenteroscopy was performed, wherein two sessile lesions (blebs) were seen in the duodenum and cauterised.


Abdominal CT

Innumerable venous malformations infiltrating subcutaneous tissue, muscles (e.g. right gluteus medius and iliacus) and abdominal and pelvic spaces, including between bowel loops, intramural, retroperitoneum, and extraperitonum. No clear evidence of gastrointestinal haemorrhage.
Three hypodense hepatic lesions with nodular centripetal enhancement (arterial phase not shown) in segments 3, 5, and 6 - hepatic haemangiomas. Small hypodense nodule in pancreatic body which could represent a tiny venous malformation, inter alia.
Endoscopy capsule in rectum.

Case Discussion

Blue rubber bleb naevus syndrome (BRBNS) is an extremely rare, mostly sporadic, condition. Exemplified in this case are the multiple venous malformations and associated spontaneous bleeding. The most common site of bleeding is the small bowel, which can be either occult or frank, even massive. In case of worsening anaemia or bloody stools, BRBNS patients undergo further diagnostic and therapeutic imaging examinations (CT enterography, Tc 99m-labelled RBC SPECT, capsule endoscopy, gastro-entero-colonoscopy, and angiography). In certain cases, surgery must be performed to control bleeding.

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Case information

rID: 51171
Published: 7th Feb 2017
Last edited: 22nd Apr 2017
System: Vascular
Inclusion in quiz mode: Included

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