Small bowel angiodysplasias (SBA) account for 50% of obscure gastrointestinal bleeding. Lesions bleed recurrently and current treatments are relatively ineffective at reducing re-bleeding. Little is known about the natural history of SBA which is needed to guide treatment decisions and counsel patients on prognosis. The aim of this study is to describe the natural history of a cohort of patients with SBA. Patients with SBA were identified retrospectively and clinical and outcome information were collected. Logistic regression analysis was performed to identify factors associated with re-bleeding. SBAs were found in 86 patients of which 54% (n = 47) were female, and the average age was 71.6 years. The majority (69%) had multiple lesions, mean of 2.76/patient, and 65% were located in the jejunum. Follow-up was available in 65% (n = 56). There was a significant increase in haemoglobin level from 10.05g/dL to 11.94g/dL, p < 0.001 after mean follow up of 31.9 (6-62) months. Re-bleeding events occurred in 80% (n = 45), with an average of 2.91/person. The mean interval between diagnosis and the first re-bleeding event was 10.7 months. Of the group overall, 70% (n = 40) required transfusions during follow up, and 67% required hospitalisation due to re-bleeding. About 50% received a directed treatment, including argon plasma coagulation, somatostatin analogues, or surgical resection. A total of 3.5% (n = 2) died as a direct consequence of bleeding from SBAs. Multiple lesions (p = 0.048) and valvular heart disease (p = 0.034) were predictive of re-bleeding. Our results show the significant impact of SBA on patients' morbidity, with high rates of re-bleeding, persistent anaemia and a mortality rate of 3.5%, despite the use of currently available medical and endoscopic therapies.
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