Vascular ectasias are also referred to as arteriovenous malformations or AVMs. AVMs occur when a very small artery and vein communicate directly rather than having a capillary bed between the two. AVMs appear as red blotches in the gastrointestinal tract. As AVMs are unstable blood vessels they are prone to bleeding. The bleeding can be relatively brisk or present as occult bleeding.
The treatment for AVMs typically involves cauterizing the abnormal blood vessels. They also can be treated with hormone therapy.