Primary balloon-assisted enteroscopy in patients with obscure gastrointestinal bleeding: Findings and outcome of therapy
Goals: The aim of this study was to evaluate the diagnostic and therapeutic outcome of a primary balloon-assisted enteroscopy (BAE) approach in obscure gastrointestinal bleeding (OGIB) patients. Background: In the diagnostic approach of OGIB, both wireless capsule endoscopy (WCE) and BAE are used. The advantage of the primary wireless capsule endoscopy approach is its noninvasiveness. The main advantage of the primary BAE approach is the excellent diagnostic accuracy and the possibility to perform treatment during the same procedure. Study: A retrospective analysis of our BAE database with patients evaluated for OGIB was performed. BAE data, findings, and follow-up were obtained and evaluated. Results: One hundred and thirty-two patients (81 male, mean age 62 (11-88) years) were included. In 60 (45%) patients with follow-up, a likely cause for OGIB was found in the small bowel during BAE: angiodysplasia or vascular malformations in 42 (70%), ulcerative lesions in 7 (12%), tumors in 3 (5%), and other findings in 8 (13%) patients. Follow-up was available in 118 (89%) patients; mean time of follow-up was 18 (1-47) months. Thirty-eight (76%) patients with findings at BAE received endoscopic treatment, 27 (71%) of them improved, but anemia also improved spontaneously in 34 patients (63%) with normal findings during BAE. The total number of angiodysplasia per patient was not related to the outcome after treatment. Conclusions: The primary BAE approach in OGIB patients has an acceptable diagnostic yield. Therapy seems successful at mid-term follow-up. A high frequency of spontaneous resolution of anemia in patients with normal findings during BAE was observed.