Gastrointestinal vascular malformations are a rare cause of acute or chronic blood loss. Usually they are treated by endoscopic obliteration or surgical resection. When such a therapy is inapplicable, pharmacotherapy may be required. At the age of 15 years, our female patient suffered from transfusion dependent recurrent gastrointestinal haemorrhage due to multiple gastrointestinal vascular malformations. Gastroscopy, coloscopy and capsule endoscopy revealed numerous foci making both endoscopic obliteration and complete surgical resection impossible. Neither regular transfusions nor substitution with coagulation factors were helpful. However, subcutaneous octreotide resulted in immediate stop of bleeding. Initial treatment by daily subcutaneous injections was followed by monthly depot application. Over 3 years only 2 transfusions had to be given. The patient required thyroxin substitution, otherwise, no side effects occurred and the girl had a good quality of life. The authors conclude that octreotide is safe and effective in gastrointestinal angiodysplasias inaccessible to endoscopy or surgery.
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Competing interests None.
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