European Radiology

, Volume 17, Issue 6, pp 1555–1565 | Cite as

Acute gastrointestinal bleeding: detection of source and etiology with multi-detector-row CT

  • Hans Scheffel
  • Thomas Pfammatter
  • Stefan Wildi
  • Peter Bauerfeind
  • Borut Marincek
  • Hatem AlkadhiEmail author


This study was conducted to determine the ability of multi-detector-row computed tomography (CT) to identify the source and etiology of acute gastrointestinal bleeding. Eighteen patients with acute upper (n = 10) and lower (n = 8) gastrointestinal bleeding underwent 4-detector-row CT (n = 6), 16-detector-row CT (n = 11), and 64-slice CT (n = 1) with an arterial and portal venous phase of contrast enhancement. Unenhanced scans were performed in nine patients. CT scans were reviewed to determine conspicuity of bleeding source, underlying etiology, and for potential causes of false-negative prospective interpretations. Bleeding sources were prospectively identified with CT in 15 (83%) patients, and three (17%) bleeding sources were visualized in retrospect, allowing the characterization of all sources of bleeding with CT. Contrast extravasation was demonstrated with CT in all 11 patients with severe bleeding, but only in 1 of 7 patients with mild bleeding. The etiology could not be identified on unenhanced CT scans in any patient, whereas arterial-phase and portal venous-phase CT depicted etiology in 15 (83%) patients. Underlying etiology was correctly identified in all eight patients with mild GI bleeding. Multi-detector-row CT enables the identification of bleeding source and precise etiology in patients with acute gastrointestinal bleeding.


Gastrointestinal hemorrhage Multi-detector-row computed tomography 



This research has been supported by the National Center of Competence in Research, Computer Aided and Image Guided Medical Interventions (NCCR CO-ME) of the Swiss National Science Foundation.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hans Scheffel
    • 1
  • Thomas Pfammatter
    • 1
  • Stefan Wildi
    • 2
  • Peter Bauerfeind
    • 3
  • Borut Marincek
    • 1
  • Hatem Alkadhi
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Institute of Diagnostic RadiologyUniversity Hospital ZurichZurichSwitzerland
  2. 2.Department of Visceral and Transplant SurgeryUniversity Hospital ZurichZurichSwitzerland
  3. 3.Division of GastroenterologyUniversity Hospital ZurichZurichSwitzerland

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