Acute lower gastrointestinal haemorrhage can potentially be life-threatening. We present a case of a massive rectal bleed which was managed successfully with a balloon tamponade device designed for upper gastrointestinal haemorrhage.
A 75-year-old gentleman, with a history of human immunodeficiency virus and cirrhosis with portal hypertension, presented with bright red rectal bleeding. Investigations showed a low haemoglobin level (74 g/L) and deranged clotting. Oesophago-gastro-duodenoscopy demonstrated no fresh or altered blood. Flexible sigmoidoscopy revealed active bleeding from a varix within the anterior rectal wall 4 cm from the anal verge. Efforts to stop the bleeding, including endoscopic clips, adrenaline injection and rectal packing, were unsuccessful and the patient became haemodynamically unstable. A Sengstaken-Blakemore tube was inserted per rectum and the gastric balloon was inflated to tamponade the lower rectum. The oesophageal balloon was then inflated to hold the gastric balloon firmly in place. A computed tomography angiogram demonstrated no evidence of haemorrhage with balloon tamponade. After 36 h, the balloon was removed with no further episodes of bleeding.
The application of a balloon tamponade device should be considered in the management algorithm for acute lower gastrointestinal bleed. Advantages include its rapid insertion, immediate results and ability to measure further bleeding after the catheter has been placed.
Sengstaken-Blakemore tube per rectum may effectively control massive low rectal bleeding when alternative methods have been unsuccessful.

Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier Ltd.