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Laser ablation of upper gastrointestinal vascular ectasias: long term results.
  1. I R Sargeant,
  2. L A Loizou,
  3. D Rampton,
  4. M Tulloch,
  5. S G Bown
  1. National Medical Laser Centre, University College Hospital, London.


    Forty one patients with bleeding vascular ectasias of the upper gastrointestinal tract who required blood transfusion were treated with endoscopic Nd:YAG laser photocoagulation and followed for 34 months (median). Four distinct groups of patients were identified. There was a sustained reduction in transfusion requirements after laser treatment in all those with single (nine patients) and multiple (seven patients) angiodysplasia, in 12 of 16 (75%) patients with watermelon stomachs, and in six of nine (66%) patients with hereditary haemorrhagic telangiectasia. Overall, 25 patients (61%) required minimal or no transfusion after treatment and nine (22%) whose bleeding was controlled initially, later developed recurrent bleeding which was controlled with further laser (total 34 of 41, 83%). Surgery succeeded in a further three patients (7%) in whom laser had failed (in one case possibly because of laser induced haemorrhage). Five more cases of possible laser induced haemorrhage resolved with conservative treatment. One patient sustained a treatment related perforation and died: one patient with cirrhosis died of encephalopathy within one month of starting laser treatment. In two patients transfusion requirements were unchanged despite laser. Nd:YAG laser is a safe and effective treatment for most patients with upper gastrointestinal angiodysplasia.

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