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Z Gastroenterol. 2013 Feb;51(2):216-9. doi: 10.1055/s-0031-1273371. Epub 2012 Aug 13.

Iron deficiency anaemia over the last decades - Osler's disease diagnosed by Doppler and contrast-enhanced ultrasound.

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Department of Internal Medicine, AMEOS Hospital St. Salvator Halberstadt, Germany.



A 72-year-old woman with a 30-year history of iron deficiency anaemia was admitted for fatigue and increasing weakness. On physical examination, the patient appeared dyspneic and pallor. The tongue showed angiodysplasias. Laboratory analysis showed a microcytary anaemia with an iron deficiency. Firstly a routine ultrasound examination (iU22, Philips Medical Systems) was performed. A left accessory artery, a dilated common hepatic artery and ectatic tortuous intrahepatic liver arteries were found. A contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) detected two intrahepatic arteriosystemic shunts in the left liver lobe. Endoscopy revealed multiple angiodysplasias of the stomach and the duodenum, 4 isolated angiodysplasias in the colon and telangiectasias in the oropharyngeal region. The angiodysplasias were treated with argon plasma coagulation. Osler's disease was diagnosed based on the Curacao criteria.


Transabdominal B-mode sonography in combination with colour Doppler, pulsed wave Doppler and contrast-enhanced ultrasound is a very important tool to detect hepatic vascular malformations. It is an excellent procedure for the screening of patients with an iron deficiency anaemia. For the first time, we have demonstrated CEUS as an additional approach in the diagnosis of liver involvement in patients with Osler's disease.

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