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Medical Science Monitor Basic Research


Gastrointestinal Bleeding in a Pancreas Transplant Recipient: A Case to Remember

Unusual clinical course, Challenging differential diagnosis

Jeevan Prakash Gopal, James E. Jackson, Andrew Palmer, David Taube, Anand Sivaprakash Rathnasamy Muthusamy

United Kingdom Imperial College Renal and Transplant Centre, Hammersmith Hospital, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, London, United Kingdom

Am J Case Rep 2020; 21:e923197

DOI: 10.12659/AJCR.923197

Available online: 2020-07-20

Published: 2020-08-28


BACKGROUND: Pancreas transplantation has proven to be the most effective therapeutic option for insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. However, despite advances in surgical technique and continuously improving outcomes, pancreas transplantation has the highest complication rate among all solid-organ transplants. Vascular complications in particular can be catastrophic, with graft- and life-threatening potential. Ectopic variceal bleeding is less common and is rarely reported in the literature.
CASE REPORT: A 51-year-old man presented with recurrent intermittent gastrointestinal bleeding (GIB) associated with hepatic dysfunction and portal hypertension 4 years after a successful pancreas-after-kidney transplant. Apart from positive serology for hepatitis E virus, all the other liver disease screening results were negative. He was extensively investigated with 6 computed tomography (CT) scans, 3 esophago-gastro-duodenoscopies (EGD), 3 colonoscopies, and 1 visceral arteriogram before the plausible diagnosis of ectopic trans-anastomotic variceal bleeding involving the pancreas transplant was established. Selective variceal catheterization and embolization were done with 3% sodium tetradecyl sulphate (STD). He remained free of bleeding after embolization.
CONCLUSIONS: This case report adds to the scanty literature on the management of ectopic variceal bleeding in a pancreas transplant recipient. Diagnosis of ectopic varix is usually challenging and frequently requires a visceral arteriogram. We describe a novel minimally-interventional technique to obtain source control and also discuss the complexity involved in the management, along with future implications.

Keywords: Embolization, Therapeutic, Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage, Pancreas Transplantation