INTRODUCTION: We report the first case of a patient who underwent simultaneous kidney and pancreas transplantation and who then suffered from repeated episodes of severe gastrointestinal bleeding over a period of seven years. Locating the site of gastrointestinal bleeding is a challenging task. This case illustrates that detection of an arterio-enteric fistula can be very difficult, especially in technically-challenging situations such as cases of severe intra-abdominal adhesions. It is important to consider the possibility of arterio-enteric fistulas in cases of intermittent bleeding episodes, especially in transplant patients.
CASE PRESENTATION: A 40-year-old Caucasian man received a combined pancreas-kidney transplantation as a result of complications from diabetes mellitus type I. Thereafter, he suffered from intermittent clinically-relevant episodes of gastrointestinal bleeding. Repeat endoscopic, surgical, scintigraphic, and angiographic investigations during his episodes of acute bleeding could not locate the bleeding site. He finally died in hemorrhagic shock due to arterio-enteric bleeding at the kidney graft site, which was diagnosed post-mortem.
CONCLUSIONS: In accordance with the literature, we suggest considering the removal of any rejected transplant organs in situations where arterio-enteric fistulas seem likely but cannot be excluded by repeat conventional or computed tomography-angiographic methods. Arterio-enteric fistulas may intermittently bleed over many years.