Argon Plasma Coagulation (APC) – A safer & effective treatment procedure to stop massive bleeding

Argon Plasma Coagulation (APC) is a medical procedure that is performed during a pan endoscopy or colonoscopy while the patient is sedated. This process helps the Gastroenterologist to seal irregular or bleeding tissue. APC procedure involves the usage of argon gas and electrical current to seal the irregular or bleeding tissue without needing direct contact. This technology helps to treat lesions that occur in the fold of the GI tract or are located in such positions which are inaccessible through endoscopy process.

Argon Plasma Coagulation (APC), a relatively new procedure is used to treat effectively multiple conditions affecting the Gastrointestinal (GI) Tract that includes:

1.Gastric Antral Vascular Ectasia (GAVE) a cause of GI bleeding and/or anaemia.

2.Watermelon Stomach

3.Colonic polyps

4.Angiodysplasia, which can cause unexplained GI bleeding as well as anaemia.

5.Radiation colitis where the colon is damaged because of severe inflammation or after radiation treatment

6.Oesophageal cancer

APC is also more effective in treating multiple lesions as it requires lesser penetration thus increasing the safety and is associated with faster recovery time. Further, this procedure is more cost-effective than other medical alternatives.

If it’s seen from a patient’s perspective view, then APC is almost same like a typical endoscopic procedure in many ways. If the upper-GI area is to be treated then fasting and staying off from drinking liquids from the previous day’s midnight are strictly followed. If it’s the case of lower GI which is to be treated, you may need to fast and cleanse as being instructed by your doctor. If you have diabetes, your blood sugar level needs to be checked throughout fasting procedure and post-operative period.



PAN ENDOSCOPY and APC: If you are having your APC performed during a Pan Endoscopy procedure then no bowel preparation is required.  Instead, you need to prepare for the procedure by fasting (no eating or drinking) for a minimum of 4 hours before the surgical procedure.

PANENDOSCOPY, COLONOSCOPY and APC: If you are having your APC performed during a Colonoscopy, you need to take bowel preparation and fasting for a minimum of 4 hours prior to your procedure.

The procedure Of APC does not involve a local anaesthetic to reduce the discomfort you would experience, instead sedation process would be applied. In most cases, the APC treatment will be completed within an hour, however, in some cases it might take a longer time depending upon the severity of the lesions.


Post Procedure Care

Post procedure, you need to follow certain instructions and care:

1.Do not drive or operate heavy machinery for at least 12 hours after sedation

2.Avoid alcohol for 12 hours post procedures

3.Some family member should always be with you

4.When you go home, it is recommended that a friend or relative stay with you so that you don’t stay alone after sedation.

5.You may resume your normal diet and medications if advised by your doctor

6.You can be back to work within a day or two

7.If you experience temporary discomfort or bloat for up to 24 hours due to air remaining in the stomach or bowel, you may drink warm fluids and massaging the stomach.

8.You may experience light headedness

In most cases, patients experience only mild, if any, discomfort, which can be managed with mild pain medications. For the first 24 to 48 hours, it’s better for you to consume a liquid diet, and then you may be instructed to go for a soft diet for the following week, depending upon your condition. This helps in faster healing and lowers the chance of infection or complications, if any, at the treated areas.

Major complications though very rarely seen after the APC procedure, can occur to some patients. Major complications include perforation of the oesophagus, stomach, small bowel or colon, haemorrhage or bleeding after the removal of polyps, cardiac or respiratory arrest related to sedation/anaesthesia and infection at the treated sites. For these, you need to consult with your doctor for fast recovery.



Though all attempts are made to provide correct information on the subject, inadvertent & typographical errors arising out of manual intervention cannot be ruled out. It is requested to bring any such discrepancies to the notice of the blogger for correction.