Initial experience with double-balloon enteroscopy at a U.S. center

Gastrointest Endosc. 2008 May;67(6):890-7. doi: 10.1016/j.gie.2007.07.047. Epub 2008 Feb 21.


Background: Double-balloon enteroscopy (DBE) allows direct visualization and intervention in the entire small intestine. Concerns include long procedure times and a long learning curve after training.

Objectives: To analyze the initial experience of a single endoscopist when using DBE; assess resource utilization, safety, clinical utility, and the learning curve.

Design: Prospective study.

Setting: Tertiary-referral center.

Patients: A total of 137 consecutive patients with bleeding or other small-intestine disorders.

Main outcome measures: Clinical impact at the time of DBE and changes in the procedure time and extent with experience.

Results: Two hundred DBE procedures were performed without major complications. For 115 oral DBEs, the mean (SD) procedure duration was 101 +/- 35 minutes and length of examined small intestine was 220 +/- 80 cm, with no significant change with experience. For 85 anal DBEs, the mean (SD) procedure duration was 96 +/- 33 minutes, and the length examined was 124 +/- 60 cm; the length examined increased with experience, but the duration did not decrease. The percentage of patients in which a DBE had a helpful clinical impact rose from 58% in the first 50 DBEs, to 86% in the last 50 of 200 DBEs. The total enteroscopy rose from 8% in the first 50 DBEs, to 63% in the last 50 of 200 DBEs.

Limitations: No follow-up data on outcomes.

Conclusions: DBEs required significant time and did not always allow for a total enteroscopy. DBEs were safe and helpful in the management of most patients. An experienced endoscopist may perform a safe and useful DBE after limited training, but the development of expertise may require more than 100 to 150 DBE procedures.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Catheterization*
  • Endoscopes, Gastrointestinal / standards*
  • Endoscopy, Gastrointestinal / methods*
  • Equipment Design
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Intestine, Small / pathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • United States