The management of massive lower gastrointestinal bleeding

Am Surg. 1993 Oct;59(10):676-8.


To evaluate what has been the most effective surgical treatment for massive lower gastrointestinal bleeding, we reviewed the records of 31 patients who underwent colon resection for hemodynamic instability and/or the need for continued transfusions. These 31 patients underwent either segmental colectomy (21 patients) or subtotal colectomy (10 patients). Resections were performed for diverticular disease (19 patients), angiodysplasia (eight patients), acute ulceration (three patients), and polyps (one patient). The re-bleeding rate (mean follow-up 1 year) for subtotal colectomy was 0 per cent, segmental resection with positive angiography was 14 per cent, and segmental resection with negative angiography was 42 per cent. The complication rate including myocardial infarction, ARDS, pneumonia, and renal failure was highest (83 per cent) in those patients receiving segmental resection with a negative angiogram. The mortality rate was also highest for segmental resection patients with negative angiography (57 per cent). The results of this review suggest that segmental resection should be performed when the bleeding site is identified angiographically. Subtotal colectomy should be reserved for massive bleeding with negative angiography.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Angiodysplasia / complications
  • Colectomy
  • Colonic Polyps / complications
  • Diverticulum, Colon / complications
  • Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage / etiology
  • Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Recurrence