Background Small bowel bleeding (SBB) accounts for 30% of gastrointestinal bleeding (GIB) episodes in patients with a left ventricular assist device (LVAD). The aim of this study was to determine the outcomes of conservative therapy (CT) compared to balloon-assisted enteroscopy (BAE) in the management of SBB in LVAD patients. Methods A retrospective review was performed of a prospectively maintained LVAD database from January 2003 to July 2015. LVAD patients with SBB were classified into a BAE group or a CT group according to whether they did or did not undergo BAE. Results Forty-two patients (22 BAE, 20 CT) with mean age 66±9.3 years (79% male) were included. The yield of BAE was 64% without reported complications. Overt re-bleeding occurred in 40% of the BAE group compared to 22% of the CT group. The BAE group had a higher mean number of GIB hospitalizations per month compared to the CT group (0.07 vs. 0.03; incidence rate ratio [IRR] 2.72, 95% CI 1.06-6.98; P=0.04). There was no significant difference between the BAE and the CT groups in the number of packed red blood cell (pRBC) transfusions per month (0.42 vs. 0.18; IRR 2.31, 95% CI 0.88-6.04; P=0.09) or all-cause mortality (61% in the CT group and 42% in the BAE group; P=0.90). Conclusion BAE is safe in LVAD patients and has a moderate therapeutic yield. In our cohort of patients, BAE did not appear to improve re-bleeding rate, GIB-related hospitalizations, pRBC transfusions or mortality compared to CT. However, future prospective trials with larger sample sizes are needed to confirm these findings.
- Balloon-assisted enteroscopy
- Capsule endoscopy
- Left ventricular assist device
- Small bowel bleeding
ASJC Scopus subject areas