Dieulafoy Lesion

3608 Users are discussing this topic

PatientPlus articles are written by UK doctors and are based on research evidence, UK and European Guidelines. They are designed for health professionals to use, so you may find the language more technical than the condition leaflets.

This page has been archived. It has not been updated since 12/06/2009. External links and references may no longer work.

The lesion in Dieulafoy's disease consists of a submucosal ectatic artery in the gastrointestinal tract. It is larger than the vessels usually in that area. It can occur in any part of the GI tract, although most frequently it is in the stomach.[1] The protuberant artery causes brisk bleeding with little or no surrounding ulceration. The aetiology of the ectatic vessel and the cause of bleeding is unknown.

Dieulafoy was a French Surgeon and was the first to describe three cases at the end of the 18th century.

  • Proximal stomach
  • Small intestine - both jejunum and ileum have been involved[3]
  • Colon
  • Rectum[2]
  • More rare - oesophagus

The incidence of Dieulafoy lesion leading to GIT haemorrhage ranges from 0.5% to 14%, depending upon the study. It is commoner in men and presents around 50 years of age.

  • Bleeding - upper GIT or lower GIT
  • Abdominal pain is uncommon
  • Haemodynamic compromise

Endoscopy, although repeated endoscopy may be required - especially if the lesion is not actively bleeding.[1]

NEW - log your activity

  • Notes
    Add notes to any clinical page and create a reflective diary
  • Track
    Automatically track and log every page you have viewed
  • Print
    Print and export a summary to use in your appraisal
Click to find out more »
  • Resuscitation with fluids, blood etc.
  • Endoscopic occlusion of the vessel, either by sclerotherapy, electrocautery or laser. Endoscopic examination and management requires careful inspection as the lesions can be easily missed.
  • Rarely if the lesion can not be identified and the patient continues to bleed then surgical exploration may be necessary.
  • Band ligation has also been used to treat Dieulafoy lesions with some success.[5]

The haemorrhage is usually difficult to manage conservatively and can be fatal. However, with meticulous examination at endoscopy the outcome is much improved.

Further reading & references

  1. Abraham P, Mukerji SS, Desai DC, et al; Dieulafoy lesion in mid-esophagus with esophageal varices. Indian J Gastroenterol. 2004 Nov-Dec;23(6):220-1.
  2. Apiratpracha W, Ho JK, Powell JJ, et al; Acute lower gastrointestinal bleeding from a dieulafoy lesion proximal to the anorectal junction post-orthotopic liver transplant. World J Gastroenterol. 2006 Dec 14;12(46):7547-8.
  3. Fox A, Ravi K, Leeder PC, et al; Adult small bowel Dieulafoy lesion. Postgrad Med J. 2001 Dec;77(914):783-4.
  4. al-Mishlab T, Amin AM, Ellul JP; Dieulafoy's lesion: an obscure cause of GI bleeding. J R Coll Surg Edinb. 1999 Aug;44(4):222-5.
  5. Nikolaidis N, Zezos P, Giouleme O, et al; Endoscopic band ligation of Dieulafoy-like lesions in the upper gastrointestinal tract. Endoscopy. 2001 Sep;33(9):754-60.

Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.

Original Author:
Dr Gurvinder Rull
Current Version:
Document ID:
2060 (v21)
Last Checked:
Next Review:

Did you find this health information useful?

Yes No

Thank you for your feedback!

Subcribe to the Patient newsletter for healthcare and news updates.

We would love to hear your feedback!

Patient Access app - find out more Patient facebook page - Like our page