The role and effectiveness of intraoperative enteroscopy in the evaluation of gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding of obscure origin is not clearly defined. Our aim was to determine if intraoperative enteroscopy is effective in identifying a source, which would lead to therapy and prevent recurrent gastrointestinal hemorrhage. Forty-four patients (median age: 64 years) underwent intraoperative enteroscopy. Median number of preoperative blood transfusions, duration of bleeding (months), and prior hospitalizations for GI hemorrhage were 19, 15, and 2, respectively. Many patients had risk factors associated with bleeding. All had undergone an extensive preoperative evaluation. Intraoperative enteroscopy was completely negative in 13 (30%). A site-specific source was seen in the small bowel in 31 patients (70%); 27 patients had lesions amenable to segmental resection with or without other means of definitive management. Only 6 of 31 patients (19%) had lesions that were actively bleeding. Twenty-three (52%) patients have had recurrent bleeding requiring transfusion (median follow-up: 21 months). Although intraoperative enteroscopy identified specific mucosal abnormalities in 70% of patients, the therapeutic efficacy in preventing recurrent hemorrhage was only 41%. Intraoperative enteroscopy is an effective tool in selected patients with occult GI bleeding and correctly identifies a treatable source and prevents recurrent bleeding in 41% of patients.
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