Timing of Single Balloon Enteroscopy: Significant or Not?

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Background: The development of balloon assisted enteroscopy (BAE) has revolutionized diagnostic and therapeutic modalities for small-bowel disorders. Although the role of emergent esophagogastroduodenoscopy and colonoscopy for upper and lower gastrointestinal bleeding is well defined, there is scarce data with regard to emergent BAE for gastrointestinal bleeding.

Study: We performed a retrospective cohort study including 110 hospitalized patients with obscure gastrointestinal bleeding who underwent single balloon enteroscopy (SBE) between January 2010 and August 2013. Patients were divided into two groups based on procedures performed emergently (within 24 hours) versus non-emergently (greater than 24 hours). Data on patient demographics, hemodynamic characteristics, type of obscure bleed, lesions identified, location of lesions, endoscopic intervention performed, need for further surgical or radiological intervention, diagnostic and therapeutic yield, and adverse events were compared between groups. Independent samples t test and Fisher’s exact test were used to assess the association between dependent and independent variables. For continuous data, the results were summarized as mean difference and 95 % confidence intervals (CI), and for binary as odds ratio and 95 %CI.

Results: Although patients in the group where enteroscopy was performed within 24 hours had a significantly higher incidence of radiological intervention (10.0 % vs. 0.0 %, P = 0.019), the diagnostic and therapeutic yields between the two groups were not significantly different. Additionally, there were no statistically significant differences between the groups for overt and occult bleeding, transfusion requirements, type and location of lesions, endoscopic intervention performed, or adverse events. Hospital stay was shorter in the patients who had SBE within 24 hours of admission (6.2 vs. 11.3 days, P < 0.001).

Conclusions: Although the diagnostic and therapeutic yields of SBE were not significantly different between patients having the procedure within 24 hours and those having it later, the early SBE group required more interventional radiology procedures. While endoscopists may not necessarily have to perform emergent assessment within 24 hours in patients with obscure gastrointestinal bleeding (OGIB) for greater diagnostic or therapeutic yield, early intervention may allow for earlier stabilization and thus shorter hospital stays. Prospective studies further evaluating these findings are indicated.

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Endoscopy International Open, v. 4, issue 7, p. E761-E766