8. Rectal Bleeding

  1. John N. Plevris MD, PhD, FRCPE, FEBGH3 and
  2. Colin W. Howden MD, FRCP (Glasg.), FACP, AGAF, FACG4
  1. Matthew Shale MRCP1,
  2. Lotte Dinesen MD1 and
  3. Subrata Ghosh MBBS, MD (E din.), FRCP, FRCPE, FRCPC2

Published Online: 29 NOV 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9781444346381.ch8

Problem-Based Approach to Gastroenterology and Hepatology

Problem-Based Approach to Gastroenterology and Hepatology

How to Cite

Shale, M., Dinesen, L. and Ghosh, S. (2012) Rectal Bleeding, in Problem-Based Approach to Gastroenterology and Hepatology (eds J. N. Plevris and C. W. Howden), Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444346381.ch8

Editor Information

  1. 3

    Centre for Liver and Digestive Disorders, The Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK

  2. 4

    Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois, USA

Author Information

  1. 1

    Gastroenterology Section, Division of Medicine, Imperial College London, Hammersmith Hospital, London, UK

  2. 2

    Department of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 29 NOV 2011
  2. Published Print: 17 JAN 2012

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405182270

Online ISBN: 9781444346381



  • hematochezia;
  • gastrointestinal bleeding;
  • colonoscopy;
  • angiography;
  • diverticular disease;
  • colonic polyps;
  • inflammatory bowel disease;
  • colorectal cancer;
  • bleeding in children


Rectal bleeding is a common presenting symptom in gastrointestinal practice, occurring in a spectrum from intermittent chronic bleeding through to acute life-threatening hemorrhage. Underlying conditions range from trivial to life threatening. Rational use of endoscopic and radiological investigations relies upon knowledge of the likely underlying etiologies, and is largely determined by features elicited in the history and examination. This chapter presents illustrative cases to aid the reader in developing an evidence-based approach to the investigation and management of patients with acute and chronic rectal bleeding.