Lower Gastrointestinal Bleeding in the Elderly

  • David McAneny
  • Craig L. Weinstein


Lower gastrointestinal (LGI) hemorrhages develop from sources distal to the ligament of Treitz and have a wide spectrum of presentations and acuities. This subject warrants special attention in the elderly. Bleeding from the upper gastrointestinal (UGI) tract occurs from practically the same causes in the elderly as in the young, albeit with differences among the prevalence of diagnoses. In contrast, a variety of degenerative changes develop over time in the LGI tract, so elderly patients are susceptible to bleeding from causes different from those in the young. Reinus and Brandt observed an interesting evolution of the explanations of LGI hemorrhage over the past 70 years.1 Bleeding was commonly attributed to tumors and diverticulitis early in the twentieth century, but colonoscopy and arteriography have demonstrated that vascular ectasias and diverticular disease without acute inflammation actually comprise about two-thirds of cases.2 Other problems to which the elderly are predisposed include ischemic colitis and neoplasms.


Small Bowel Iron Deficiency Anemia Diverticular Disease Ischemic Colitis Lower Gastrointestinal Bleeding 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • David McAneny
  • Craig L. Weinstein

There are no affiliations available

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