What is the role of angiography in the diagnosis of ulcerative colitis (UC)?

Updated: Apr 23, 2019
  • Author: Ali Nawaz Khan, MBBS, FRCS, FRCP, FRCR; Chief Editor: Eugene C Lin, MD  more...
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Angiography is a valuable tool in the diagnosis and therapy of hemorrhage from the large bowel resulting from ulcerative colitis and other causes. [37]

Tsuchiya and associates performed selective superior and inferior mesenteric angiography in 25 patients with ulcerative colitis. [38] Vascular changes in large vessels, such as increased diameter of the IMA, were found to correlate better with the severity or activity of illness. However, in some cases, microcirculatory changes of small vessels of the intestinal wall (eg, capillary blush or loss of normal tapering of vasa recta) remained in remission of this disease.

Brahme and Hildell evaluated the diagnostic yield of angiography in 116 patients with Crohn disease [39] and concluded that angiography was a diagnostic adjunct to barium studies and that it revealed the presence of lesions, as well as their extent. Angiographic abnormalities were found in over 90%. Crohn disease could be distinguished from ulcerative colitis in only 30% of the cases. 

Angiographic findings are nonspecific; both false-positive and false-negative results may occur.

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