Background: Endoscopic therapy for GI bleeding is highly effective. Nevertheless, bleeding recurs in 10% to 25% of cases, irrespective of the method of treatment used. Whether a second-look endoscopy with retreatment after initial hemostasis is of clinical value is controversial. A meta-analysis was performed to assess whether systematic second-look endoscopy with retreatment reduces the risks of recurrent bleeding, salvage surgery, and death in patients with peptic ulcer bleeding.
Methods: A systematic review was performed of randomized controlled studies of the value of second-look endoscopy in patients with peptic ulcer bleeding published between 1990 and 2000. Four studies were selected according to predefined criteria. Two investigators extracted the data independently. Pooled risk estimates and number need to treat were calculated for each procedure. Heterogeneity of effects was tested.
Results: The absolute risk reduction in clinical recurrent bleeding was 6.2% (p < 0.01). Absolute risk reduction for surgery and mortality were, respectively, 1.7% and 1.0% (not significant). The second look with retreatment significantly reduced the risk of recurrent bleeding compared with control patients (OR 0.64; 95% CI [0.44, 0.95]; p < 0.01), with a number needed to treat of 16. There was no heterogeneity among studies. The risk of surgery as well as the risk of death were not significantly influenced by the second-look endoscopy with retreatment (number needed to treat, respectively, 58 and 97).
Conclusions: Systematic second-look endoscopy with retreatment significantly reduces the risk of recurrent bleeding in patients with peptic ulcer bleeding compared with control patients, but it does not substantially reduce the risk of salvage surgery or mortality.