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CT-Angiography for the Detection of a Lower Gastrointestinal Bleeding Source

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The evaluation of lower gastrointestinal bleeding (LGIB) often involves the collaborative efforts of the gastroenterologist, radiologist, and surgeon. Efforts to localize the acute LGIB have traditionally involved colonoscopy, technetium-labeled red blood cell (RBC) scintigraphy, angiography, or a combination of these modalities. The sensitivity of each method of diagnosis is limited, with the most common cause of a negative study the spontaneous cessation of hemorrhage. Other technical factors include vasospasm, lack of adequate contrast volume or exposure time, a venous bleeding source, and a large surface bleeding area. We report the use of multidetector computed tomography (MDCT), or CT-angiography (CT-A), in the initial evaluation of LGIB, and speculate on the incorporation of this technique into a diagnostic algorithm to treat LGIB. MDCT may offer a very sensitive means to evaluate the source of acute LGIB, while avoiding some of the morbidity and intense resource use of contrast angiography, and may provide unique morphologic information regarding the type of pathology. Screening with the more rapid and available MDCT, followed by either directed therapeutic angiography or surgical management, may represent a reasonable algorithm for the early evaluation and management of acute LGIB in which an active bleeding source is strongly suspected.
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Keywords: Research Article

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2005

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