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Volume 63 - 2000 - Fasc.4 - Case reports

Idiopathic colonic varices : an unusual cause of massive lower gastrointestinal hemorrhage

Varices of the entire colon are very rare. This rare cause of massive lower gastrointestinal hemorrhage is almost invariably associated with cirrhosis of the liver and consequent hypertension or portal venous obstruction. We report about a patient with massive lower gastrointestinal bleeding from extensive colonic varices. Despite extensive investigation and a follow-up of 3 years, the etiology of the colonic varices could not be determined. Only a few cases of apparent idiopathic (familial or non - familial) colonic varices have been described. Recognition of this abnorirnality is important, however, because colonic varices may be the cause of recurrent, frequently massive lower gastrointestinal hemorrhage. A misleading endoscopic diagnosis can lead to inappropriate biopsies, resulting in major bleeding.