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Defining The Role of Fiberoptic Sigmoidoscopy in The Investigation of Patients Presenting With Bright Red Rectal Bleeding

Van Rosendaal, G M A, MD1; Sutherland, L R, MD1; Verhoef, M J, PhD1; Bailey, R J, MD2; Blustein, P K, MD1; Lalor, E A, MD2; Thomson, A B R, MD2; Meddings, J B, MD1

American Journal of Gastroenterology: May 2000 - Volume 95 - Issue 5 - p 1184–1187
doi: 10.1111/j.1572-0241.2000.02007.x

OBJECTIVE: This study was done to determine whether sigmoidoscopy could theoretically constitute sufficient investigation for some patients with bright red rectal bleeding.

METHODS: One hundred and forty-three patients undergoing investigative colonoscopy for bright red rectal bleeding and whose source of bleeding was identified were studied. The investigation took place in a large urban hospital over an 11-month period. Data obtained included changes in stool pattern, characteristics of the bleeding, lesions identified, and the distance of the lesion from the anus.

RESULTS: In patients younger than 55 yr, all serious lesions except for one malignancy in a patient with massive bleeding lay within 60 cm of the anus and theoretically within reach of the fiberoptic sigmoidoscope. The mixing of red blood with stool was commonly due to distal lesions, especially hemorrhoids.

CONCLUSIONS: In young persons with bright red rectal bleeding, fiberoptic sigmoidoscopy may prove to constitute appropriate initial investigation.

1The University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

2The University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Reprint requests and correspondence: G M A Van Rosendaal, MD, The University of Calgary, 3330 Hospital Dr N.W., Calgary, AB, T2N 4N1, Canada.

Received 06 January 1999; accepted 15 July 1999

© The American College of Gastroenterology 2000. All Rights Reserved.
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