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Revista Española de Enfermedades Digestivas

Print version ISSN 1130-0108


HERVIAS, D. et al. Diffuse cavernous hemangioma of the rectum: an atypical cause of rectal bleeding. Rev. esp. enferm. dig. [online]. 2004, vol.96, n.5, pp.346-352. ISSN 1130-0108.

Objective: cavernous hemangioma of the rectosigmoid colon is a rare disease, with no more than 200 cases reported in the literature. The rectosigmoid is the most common site of this disease in the gastrointestinal tract. Case report: we report the case of a 31-year-old male with recurrent episodes of rectal bleeding, who was finally diagnosed of diffuse cavernous hemangioma of the rectum. The tumor, of 12 x 10 x 9 cm in size, occupied the rectum to the margin of the anal sphincter. A surgical procedure was ruled out because of the inability to carry out a safe anastomosis while preserving anal sphincters. Discussion: rectal hemangiomas are less frequent vascular malformations. The clinical presentation of a cavernous hemangioma of the rectum is usually acute, recurrent or chronic rectal bleeding. Other symptoms stem from the possible compression or invasion of adjacent structures, such as lumbar or perianal pain, metrorrhage, hematuria, etc. This diagnosis is commonly made in younger patients. Colonoscopy is without doubt the diagnostic technique of choice, and it allows to establish the localization, morphology, and total extension of the lesion; its characteristic image is a red-purplish nodule with great vascular congestion. According to the opinion of most authors, biopsy is not advisable during colonoscopy, since imaging techniques are sufficient for an accurate diagnosis, and the risk of bleeding while manipulating this lesion is not negligible. Computed tomography and particularly magnetic resonance imaging, given their high precision to delimit the lesion and its relations to adjacent structures, are imaging studies that are mandatory before surgical treatment. Other techniques such as selective angiography, barium enema, gastrointestinal transit, and upper-tract endoscopy may be supplementary and help locate more lesions along the gastrointestinal tract. Failure to recognize the exact diagnosis and extent of diffuse cavernous hemangioma may lead to failed surgical treatment and severe complications. Complete surgical excision of the lesion with a sphincter-saving procedure is the primary mode of treatment: conservative proctectomy with coloanal anastomosis.

Keywords : Rectum; Cavernous hemangioma; Rectal bleeding; MRI; Colonoscopy.

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