Yield and impact of emergency capsule enteroscopy in severe obscure-overt gastrointestinal bleeding

Endoscopy. 2012 Apr;44(4):337-42. doi: 10.1055/s-0031-1291614. Epub 2012 Mar 2.


Background and study aims: Patients with obscure-overt gastrointestinal bleeding (OOGIB) are defined by overt hemorrhage and negative upper and lower endoscopy findings. At present, the place of emergency capsule enteroscopy in patients with severe OOGIB is unknown. The aim of this study was to assess the diagnostic yield and the impact of emergency capsule enteroscopy on further management in patients with severe OOGIB.

Patients and methods: Between 2003 and 2010, we retrospectively included all patients with severe OOGIB who underwent emergency capsule enteroscopy in the 24-48 h following negative urgent upper and lower endoscopy. Severe OOGIB was defined by ongoing bleeding with hemodynamic instability and/or the need for significant red blood cell transfusion.

Results: Out of 5744 patients hospitalized in our Gastrointestinal Bleeding Unit, 55 (1%) presented with severe OOGIB and underwent emergency capsule enteroscopy. Capsule enteroscopy showed blood in 41 patients (75%) and lesions in 37 patients (67%). Findings included small bowel angiodysplasia in 19 patients (35%), ulcers in 7 (13%), tumors in 5 (9%), small-bowel varices in 2 (3%), cecum angiodysplasia in 4 (7%), fresh blood in small bowel without identified lesion in 12 (22%). Specific diagnostic and therapeutic procedures were undertaken in 78 % of patients. Further management included endoscopy (54%), surgery (22%), and radiology (2%).

Conclusions: Emergency capsule enteroscopy identified bleeding lesions in 67 % of patients with severe OOGIB. Emergency capsule enteroscopy seems to be a promising diagnostic tool with a subsequent impact on clinical management in patients with severe OOGIB.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / diagnosis
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Angiodysplasia / complications
  • Angiodysplasia / diagnosis
  • Capsule Endoscopes*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Emergencies
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage / complications
  • Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage / diagnosis*
  • Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage / therapy
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Intestinal Diseases / therapy
  • Intestinal Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Intestine, Small
  • Male
  • Meckel Diverticulum / diagnosis
  • Middle Aged
  • Recurrence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Stomach Ulcer / complications
  • Stomach Ulcer / diagnosis*
  • Stomach Ulcer / therapy