Double-balloon enteroscopy (push-and-pull enteroscopy) of the small bowel: feasibility and diagnostic and therapeutic yield in patients with suspected small bowel disease

Gastrointest Endosc. 2005 Jul;62(1):62-70. doi: 10.1016/s0016-5107(05)01586-5.


Background: Double-balloon enteroscopy (push-and-pull enteroscopy) is a new method that allows complete visualization, biopsy, and treatment in the small bowel. This study evaluated the feasibility and the diagnostic and the therapeutic yield of double-balloon enteroscopy (push-and-pull enteroscopy) in comparison with current imaging methods.

Methods: Between March 2003 and November 2004, 248 consecutive double-balloon enteroscopies (push-and-pull enteroscopies) were performed in a prospective study in 137 patients with suspected small-bowel disease (60 women, 77 men; mean age 56.6 +/- 17.8 years), most with chronic GI bleeding (66%). The examinations were carried out after negative evaluations with other methods or to allow biopsy or treatment in patients with known small-bowel findings.

Results: There were no relevant technical problems or severe complications. On average, 240 +/- 100 cm of the small bowel was visualized by using the oral route and 140 +/- 90 cm was visualized by using the anal route. The investigation time averaged 73.5 +/- 25 minutes. The overall diagnostic yield was 80% (109/137 patients). The main diagnosis was angiodysplasia (40/109; 37%); erosions and ulcerations of various etiologies were found in 27% (29/109). Polyps and tumors were identified, including malignancy, in 25% (27/109). Other findings were detected in a further 11%. No relevant pathology was found in 20%. Subsequent treatment was influenced by the results in 104 patients (76%): endoscopic therapy in 57 (41.5%), medical treatment in 23 (17%), and surgery in 24 (17.5%).

Conclusions: Double-balloon enteroscopy (push-and-pull enteroscopy) is safe and easily conducted. Visualization and tissue sampling are possible in the entire small bowel by using the oral and anal approaches, and treatment is possible in the same way as in standard endoscopy, avoiding open surgery. If further prospective studies confirm its value, double-balloon enteroscopy (push-and-pull enteroscopy) may become a standard method of diagnostic and therapeutic endoscopy in the small bowel.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Endoscopes, Gastrointestinal*
  • Endoscopy, Gastrointestinal / methods*
  • Equipment Design
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Diseases* / diagnosis
  • Intestinal Diseases* / therapy
  • Intestine, Small*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies