The association of unexplained gastrointestinal bleeding with calcific aortic stenosis

Ann Thorac Surg. 1987 Nov;44(5):514-6. doi: 10.1016/s0003-4975(10)62112-1.


The association of chronic gastrointestinal bleeding and aortic stenosis remains problematical. The cases of 91 patients (age 38 to 80 years) with these disorders who were examined between 1955 and 1975 were reviewed to address this controversy. All patients underwent upper and lower gastrointestinal radiography, small bowel series, and proctoscopy. Other studies were endoscopy in 84 patients, colonoscopy in 61, and visceral angiography in 16. Of the 37 patients who underwent abdominal exploration, 35 (95%) continued to bleed postoperatively, including 8 of 10 patients who had bowel resection for angiodysplasia. Forty patients did not have an abdominal operation, and all have continued to bleed. Sixteen patients (2 of whom had had an abdominal procedure) underwent aortic valve replacement for aortic stenosis. There were 2 intraoperative deaths among these 16 patients. At follow-up, which ranged from 8 to 12 years, only 1 patient who underwent aortic valve replacement had recurrent bleeding secondary to excessive anticoagulation. Thus, overall, gastrointestinal operation was successful in only 5% of patients, but aortic valve replacement was effective in 93%. For unexplained gastrointestinal bleeding associated with aortic stenosis, aortic valve replacement should be considered because of the likelihood of cure.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aortic Valve
  • Aortic Valve Stenosis / complications*
  • Aortic Valve Stenosis / surgery
  • Calcinosis / complications
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage / etiology*
  • Heart Valve Prosthesis
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged