October 1979

Massive Lower Gastrointestinal Bleeding From Intestinal Varices

Author Affiliations

From the Surgical Service, Veterans Administration Wadsworth Medical Center, Los Angeles (Drs Wilson, Stone, and Passaro); the Department of Surgery, University of California at Los Angeles School of Medicine (Drs Wilson and Passaro); and the South Miami Medical Center, Miami (Dr Christie).

Arch Surg. 1979;114(10):1158-1161. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1979.01370340064011

• Lower gastrointestinal bleeding from intestinal varices cannot readily be detected at operation; hence, preoperative identification is important. Our experience with six patients having sudden, massive bleeding per rectum from intestinal varices suggests a group of common findings. These patients had cirrhosis, no blood in the stomach or duodenum, characteristic mucosal imprints on barium enema, or direct visualization of varices on sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy. Only two had demonstrable esophageal varices. The diagnosis was confirmed and the site of the varices localized on the venous phase of selective mesenteric angiography in five patients. Varices were located in the duodenojejunum in two, in the cecum and ascending colon in two, and in the rectum and sigmoid colon in two patients. Three patients were treated nonoperatively with transfusion and intraarterial infusion of vasopressin into the superior mesenteric artery; one died. One patient with cecal varices had a right hemicolectomy that controlled the bleeding, but progressive hepatic failure resulted in postoperative death. The remaining two patients had successful decompression of left colonic varices by portasystemic shunt.

(Arch Surg 114:1158-1161, 1979)