Vascular ectasias (angiodysplasias, arteriovenous malformations) of the cecum and ascending colon are a frequent cause of lower intestinal bleeding in the elderly that has been overlooked by clinicians and pathologists. Their nature and etiology have been poorly understood until recently. This article reviews the previous literature and presents a complete and detailed description of these lesions based on the examination of 87 areas showing vascular ectasia from 26 colons. Their morphology spans a spectrum from small focal early lesions to multiple large late lesions. The early lesions are characterized by markedly dilated, large, tortuous submucosal veins with minimal dilatation of their tributaries in the mucosa. The late lesions showed further dilatation of submucosal veins and venules and extensive replacement of the overlying mucosa by racemose collections of dilated and thin walled venules and capillaries, three of which demonstrated rupture into the colonic lumen. The pathology of these lesions is considered to be specific enough to establish vascular ectasias of the colon as a distinct entity.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine