UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Gastrointestional

Title: Diverticular Bleeding

Keywords: Diverticular, bleeding, gastrointestinal (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/3/2010 by Michael Bond, MD
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Diverticular Bleeding

  • Diverticular bleeding is the  most common source of lower GI bleeds and accounts for 17 to 40 percent of cases
  • The most common presentation (80%) is massive painless rectal bleeding. 
  • Patients may have some cramping prior to a bloody bowel movement but otherwise will typically have no abdominal pain.
  • The majority of the cases will resolve spontaneously, but those requiring more than 4 units of Packed Red Blood Cells should be considered for an angiogram or  surgery.
  • Angiography can be used to localize the site of bleeding and embolize the bleeding source. 
  • If embolization fails the patient may require a partial colectomy to treat the bleeding source.