Background: The long-term efficacy of argon plasma coagulation (APC) in the management of gastrointestinal vascular lesions has not been evaluated in a large and well-defined series. The impact of APC on transfusion requirements and hemoglobin, and technical parameters including complications and number of treatment sessions, is assessed in this series.
Methods: Patients who underwent APC for bleeding gastrointestinal vascular lesions were identified via interrogation of an established endoscopic database, excluding patients with radiation proctitis, tumors, residual polypectomy tissue and acute ulcer bleeding. Follow-up data were collected via interview with patients and referring doctors, review of medical records, and follow-up blood tests.
Results: One hundred patients were enrolled, males = 46, median age = 74 yr (range: 19-99 yr). Median follow-up time was 16 months (range: 4-47 months). Lesions treated were arteriovenous malformations (n = 74) and gastric antral vascular ectasia (n = 26). Fifty-three patients required transfusion. In this group, median hemoglobin improved from 66 g/L (range: 35-114) to 111 g/L (range: 55-155, p < 0.001). Median transfusion velocity fell from 2 units/month (range: 0.1-6) to 0 units/month (range: 0-4, p < 0.001). Transfusion requirement was abolished in 77%. In non-transfusion-requiring patients, median hemoglobin improved from 105 g/L (range: 58-143) to 123 g/L (range: 79-158, p < 0.001). No complications occurred.
Conclusions: APC is effective and safe in the management of gastrointestinal vascular lesions.