Objectives: Capsule endoscopy (CE) has revolutionized the evaluation of obscure gastrointestinal bleeding (OGIB) but published literature is limited to small series with heterogeneous indications. The aim of this study was to determine the findings and the diagnostic yield of CE in a large series of patients with overt and occult OGIB.
Methods: Data on 260 patients who underwent CE for overt (N = 126) or occult (N = 134) OGIB were obtained by retrospective chart review and review of an internal database of CE patients and findings.
Results: Visualization of the entire small bowel was achieved in 74%. The majority of exams (66%) were rated as having a good or excellent prep. Clinically significant positive findings occurred in 53%. The yield of CE in the obscure-overt group was greater than in the obscure-occult group (60%vs 46%, P= 0.03). Small bowel angioectasias were the most common finding, comprising over 60% of clinically significant lesions. The mean follow-up was 9.6 months, and there were significant reductions in hospitalizations, additional tests/procedures, and units of blood transfused after CE. Both before and after CE, patients in the overt group had more significant GI bleeding than patients in the occult group. Complications occurred in five (1.9%) cases: nonnatural excretion (four) and CE impaction at cricopharyngeus (one).
Conclusions: The yield of clinically important findings on CE in patients with OGIB is 53% and is greater in patients with obscure-overt than obscure-occult GI bleeding. Angioectasias account for the majority of significant lesions in both groups. Compared with pre-CE, patients had clinical improvement post-CE in medical interventions for OGIB. Complications of CE occur in less than 2% of cases.