Postpolypectomy haemorrhage following removal of large polyps using mechanical haemostasis or epinephrine: a meta-analysis

United European Gastroenterol J. 2014 Apr;2(2):123-30. doi: 10.1177/2050640614522619.


Background and aim: Postpolypectomy haemorrhage (PPH) is a known adverse event that can occur following polypectomy, occurring in 0.3-6.1% of cases. Previous meta-analysis has included small polyps, which are less likely to bleed, and less amenable to some methods of mechanical haemostasis. No comprehensive cost-benefit analysis of this topic is available. The aim of this study was to perform a meta-analysis of randomized trials and a cost-benefit analysis of prophylactic haemostasis in PPH.

Methods: A total of 3092 abstracts from prospective trials conducted in human colonoscopic polypectomy were screened. Outpatients undergoing polypectomy in seven suitable studies (1426 episodes), without polyposis syndromes or bleeding diathesis, were identified. The interventions of prophylactic haemostatic measures (clips, loops, and/or adrenaline injection) to prevent PPH were assessed. The main outcome measurements were PPH measured by haematochezia or drop in haematocrit >10% or haemoglobin >1 g/dl. Risk ratio and number needed to treat (NNT) were generated using meta-analysis.

Results: Comparing any prophylactic haemostasis to none, the pooled risk ratio for PPH was 0.35 (0.21-0.57; p < 0.0001), NNT was 13.6, and cost to prevent one PPH was USD652. Using adrenaline alone vs. no prophylactic haemostasis revealed a pooled risk ratio of 0.37 (0.20-0.66; p = 0.001), NNT 14.0, cost to prevent one PPH USD382. Any prophylactic mechanical haemostasis compared to adrenaline produced a RR for PPH of 0.28 (0.14-0.57; p < 0.0001), NNT 12.3, and cost to prevent one PPH USD1368.

Conclusions: Adrenaline injection or mechanical haemostasis reduces the risk of PPH. Routine prophylactic measures to reduce PPH for polyps larger than 10 mm are potentially cost effective, although more thorough cost-benefit modelling is required.

Keywords: Adrenaline; colonoscopic polypectomy; haemostasis; healthcare costs; meta-analysis; postpolypectomy bleeding.