Use of heparin in the investigation of obscure gastrointestinal bleeding.
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OBJECTIVE: To determine if the administration of heparin improves the predictive value of angiography in the investigation of obscure gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding. METHODS: 18 patients with a history of chronic GI bleeding were investigated with angiography. For 6 patients, the cause of GI bleeding was established with angiography; the 12 patients who had negative results were given heparin for 24 h and were reassessed with angiography. RESULTS: After heparin administration, the source of GI bleeding was determined with angiography for 6 of the remaining 12 patients. Thus, heparinization increased diagnostic yield from 33% (6 of 18) to 67% (12 of 18). No significant complications, such as uncontrolled GI bleeding, occurred. CONCLUSION: Heparinization improves the diagnostic yield of angiography when obscure GI bleeding is being investigated.
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