Which procedures are used to diagnose lower gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding (LGIB)?

Updated: Jul 26, 2019
  • Author: Burt Cagir, MD, FACS; Chief Editor: BS Anand, MD  more...
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Nonsurgical modalities used to diagnose LGIB include the following:

Fiberoptic flexible colonoscopy is the initial diagnostic method of choice in most patients who are hemodynamically stable. Colonoscopy should be performed following a rapid bowel preparation (“prep”) with volume cathartic agents. Rapid bowel prep colonoscopy has higher diagnostic and therapeutic yields compared to unprepped colonoscopic evaluation. In hemodynamically unstable patients and in those with brisk ongoing LGIB, angiography with or without a preceding radionuclide scan can be performed. Angiography is also performed if colonoscopy has failed to identify a bleeding site. Rarely, exploratory laparotomy and intraoperative push enteroscopy can be performed in truly hemodynamically unstable patients owing to the speed and the volume of the bleeding.

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