Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Bleeding from gastrointestinal angioectasias is not related to bleeding disorders - a case control study

Charlotte M Höög1*, Olle Broström1, Tomas L Lindahl2, Andreas Hillarp3, Gerd Lärfars1 and Urban Sjöqvist1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm Söder Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden

2 Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden

3 Department of Clinical Chemistry, Malmö University Hospital, Malmö, Sweden

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BMC Gastroenterology 2010, 10:113  doi:10.1186/1471-230X-10-113

Published: 28 September 2010

Abstract

Background

Angioectasias in the gastrointestinal tract can be found in up to 3% of the population. They are typically asymptomatic but may sometimes result in severe bleeding. The reasons for why some patients bleed from their angioectasias are not fully understood but it has been reported that it may be explained by an acquired von Willebrand syndrome (AVWS). This condition has similar laboratory findings to congenital von Willebrand disease with selective loss of large von Willebrand multimers. The aim of this study was to find out if AVWS or any other bleeding disorder was more common in patients with bleeding from angioectasias than in a control group.

Methods

We compared bleeding tests and coagulation parameters, including von Willebrand multimers, from a group of 23 patients with anemia caused by bleeding from angioectasias, with the results from a control group lacking angioectasias.

Results

No significant differences between the two groups were found in coagulation parameters, bleeding time or von Willebrand multimer levels.

Conclusion

These results do not support a need for routine bleeding tests in cases of bleeding from angioectasias and do not show an overall increased risk of AVWS among these patients.