Risk factors for small bowel bleeding in an overt gastrointestinal bleeding presentation after negative upper and lower endoscopy

PLoS One. 2019 Feb 20;14(2):e0212509. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0212509. eCollection 2019.


Introduction: A small bowel source is suspected when evaluation of overt gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding with upper and lower endoscopy is negative. Video capsule endoscopy (VCE) is the recommended next diagnostic test for small bowel bleeding sources. However, clinical or endoscopic predictive factors for small bowel bleeding in the setting of an overt bleeding presentation are unknown. We aimed to define predictive factors for positive VCE among individuals presenting with overt bleeding and a suspected small bowel source.

Methods: We included consecutive inpatient VCE performed between September 1, 2012 to September 1, 2015 for melena or hematochezia at two tertiary centers. All patients had EGD and colonoscopy performed prior to VCE. Patient demographics, medication use, and endoscopic findings were retrospectively recorded. VCE findings were graded based on the P0-P2 grading system. The primary outcome of interest was a positive (P2) VCE. The secondary outcome of interest was the performance of a therapeutic intervention. Data were analyzed with the Fisher exact test for dichotomous variables and logistic regression.

Results: Two hundred forty-three VCE were reviewed, and 117 were included in the final analysis. A positive VCE (P2) was identified in 35 (29.9%) cases. In univariate analysis, a positive VCE was inversely associated with presence of diverticula on preceding colonoscopy (OR: 0.44, 95% CI: 0.2-0.99), while identification of blood on terminal ileal examination was associated with a positive VCE (OR: 5.18, 95% CI: 1.51-17.76). In multivariate analysis, only blood identified on terminal ileal examination remained a significant risk factor for positive VCE (OR: 6.13, 95% CI: 1.57-23.81). Blood on terminal ileal examination was also predictive of therapeutic intervention in both univariate (OR: 4.46, 95% CI: 1.3-15.2) and multivariate analysis (OR: 5.04, 95% CI: 1.25-20.32).

Conclusion: Among patients presenting with overt bleeding but negative upper and lower endoscopy, the presence of blood on examination of the terminal ileum is strongly associated with a small bowel bleeding source as well as with small bowel therapeutic intervention. Presence of diverticula on colonoscopy is inversely associated with a positive VCE and therapeutic intervention in univariate analysis.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Capsule Endoscopy
  • Colonoscopy
  • Endoscopy, Gastrointestinal / methods*
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage / diagnosis*
  • Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Ileum / diagnostic imaging
  • Intestinal Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Intestinal Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Intestine, Small* / diagnostic imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors

Grants and funding

The authors received no specific funding for this work.