Obscure gastrointestinal bleeding remains a significant diagnostic challenge. Our aims were (1) to determine the efficacy of intraoperative enteroscopy (IOE) in identifying lesions responsible for obscure gastrointestinal bleeding and (2) to determine the outcome of patients after treatment of these lesions. We retrospectively reviewed all patients who underwent IOE for obscure gastrointestinal bleeding from 1992 to 1998. Patients were divided into those with overt and those with occult gastrointestinal bleeding. Follow-up was complete in 67 patients (96%), with a median of 32 months (range 1 to 91 months). Seventy patients (52 overt and 18 occult) underwent IOE after extensive preaperative evaluation. Medianduration of bleeding was 12 months, requiring a median of 14 blood transfusions. Risk factors for bleeding were identified in 46 patients (61 %). A lesion was identified and treated in 52 patients (74%) - 39 in the overt group and 13 in the occult group. Lesions identified were vascular (54%), ulcerations (31%), tumors (11%), and small bowel diverticula (4%). Overall, 35 patients (52%) were found to have one or more lesions at IOE that were treated surgically and had no further bleeding. IOE, through a mid-small bowel enterotomy, has low morbidity and is effective in that it identified a treatable lesion in 74% of patients, which led to cure of bleeding in 52%.
- Obscure gastrointestinal bleeding
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