Angiodysplasias are usually asymptomatic but they can cause of GI bleeding in 3–6% of all patients and are a more common cause of beeeding in the elderly. It is notoriously difficult to treat. A number of reports suggest that it is a valuable adjunct in the treatment of gastro-inestinal dysplasia and can decrease bleeding. There are no supportive guidelines to my knowledge but the role of somatostatin analogues for refractory bleeding GI angiodysplasias has been systematically reviewed by Brown et al.
He concluded: “A significant number of patients with bleeding gastrointestinal angiodysplasia respond to treatment with octreotide by reducing the need for blood products. As all the included studies had small sample sizes, multicenter randomized trials are needed to confirm these findings. However, it seems reasonable to administer octreotide especially in patients with refractory bleeding, inaccessible lesions and in patients at high risk for other interventions.”.
Rivera M, Lucero J, Guerrero A, Márquez JL, Montes R, Suñer M, Ruiz A, Valdivia MA, Mateos J. Octreotide in the treatment of angiodysplasia in patients with advanced chronic renal failure.Nefrologia. 2005;25(3):332-5.
Junquera F, Saperas E, Videla S, et al. Long-term efficacy of octreotide in the prevention of recurrent bleeding from gastrointestinal angiodysplasia. Am J Gastroenterol 2007; 102:254.
Brown C, Subramanian V, Wilcox CM, Peter S. Somatostatin analogues in the treatment of recurrent bleeding from gastrointestinal vascular malformations: an overview and systematic review of prospective observational studies. Dig Dis Sci 2010; 55:2129.
Scaglione G, Pietrini L, Russo F, et al. Long-acting octreotide as rescue therapy in chronic bleeding from gastrointestinal angiodysplasia. Aliment Pharmacol Ther 2007; 26:935.
Molina-Infante J, Perez-Gallardo B. Somatostatin analogues for bleeding gastrointestinal angiodysplasias: when should thalidomide be prescribed?. Dig Dis Sci. Jan 2011;56(1):266-7.
Bon C, Aparicio T, Vincent M, et al. Long-acting somatostatin analogues decrease blood transfusion requirements in patients with refractory gastrointestinal bleeding associated with angiodysplasia. Aliment Pharmacol Ther 2012; 36:587.
Brown C, Subramanian V, Wilcox CM, Peter S. Somatostatin analogues in the treatment of recurrent bleeding from gastrointestinal vascular malformations: an overview and systematic review of prospective observational studies. Dig Dis Sci. 2010 Aug;55(8):2129-34.
For Lay version see here
For a discussion of thalidomide see here