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“THE HUNT FOR THE RED SPOT” Investigations and management of the obscure GI bleeder. Dr Georgina Cameron Endoscopy Fellow, SVHM ANZSPM Update Meeting 28 th June 2013. Background.

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the hunt for the red spot investigations and management of the obscure gi bleeder

“THE HUNT FOR THE RED SPOT”Investigations and management of the obscure GI bleeder

Dr Georgina Cameron

Endoscopy Fellow, SVHM

ANZSPM Update Meeting

28th June 2013


Obscure gastrointestinal bleeding (OGIB) represents occult or overt bleeding of unknown origin after normal gastroscopy and colonoscopy.

  • Overt bleeding is characterised by haematemesisand/or melaena.
  • Occult is not detectable by the patient
  • 5% of all GI bleeding occurs in the small bowel outside the intubation range of gastroscopy and colonoscopy.
  • ~75% obscureGI bleeding arises from the small bowel (25% found on repeat upper and lower endoscopy)
causes of obscure gi bleeding
Causes of obscure GI bleeding




Diverticular disease


endoscopic investigations for obscure gi bleeding
Endoscopic investigations for obscure GI bleeding

Repeat Gastroscopy, colonoscopy

  • 25% will detect aetiology of obscure GI bleeding

Push enteroscopy

  • Aiming to visualise proximal jejunum
  • Typically use a paediatric colonoscope and able to intubate 100cm into small bowel 

Capsule endoscopy

  • Benefit of complete small bowel visualisation
  • Fair localisation
  • Guides next best investigation
  • Not therapeutic
endoscopic investigations for obscure gi bleeding1
Endoscopic investigations for obscure GI bleeding

Double Balloon Enteroscopy

  • Anterograde and retrograde allowing visualisation 75% small bowel
  • Allows therapeutic intervention such as polypectomy, cauterization, clipping
  • Ink tattooing allows localisation of pathology for surgeons
radiological investigations
Radiological investigations

CT Angiography (>0.3 mL/min)

Good localisation, precursor to angiography

Labelled Red Cell Scan (>0.1mL/min)

Poor localisation

Digital Subtraction Angiography (therapeutic)

case 1 mrs sm
Case 1 Mrs SM
  • 70 year old lady from Warrnambool
    • Recurrent presentations with abdominal pain, fever and melaena
    • Haemoglobin 60g/L requiring 3 units blood and admission to intensive care
    • On aspirin for atrial fibrillation
    • Normal gastroscopyand colonoscopy
case 1 mrs sm1
Case 1: Mrs SM

Capsule endoscopy showed

bleeding from proximal small bowel

CT showed

small bowel diverticula

case 1 mrs sm2
Case 1: Mrs SM
  • Transferred to St Vincent’s Hospital
  • Small amount of melaenawith Haemoglobin drop post arrival – transfused 3 units
  • CT angiogram – no focus of bleeding
  • Given capsule endoscopy findings, proceeded to anterograde double balloon enteroscopy
anterograde double balloon enteroscopy
Anterograde Double Balloon Enteroscopy

Fresh bleeding and clot within a small bowel diverticulum

Unable to achieve haemostasis

Site tattooed for surgical localisation

case sm x marks the spot
Case SM – “X” marks the spot

Laparotomy and 15cm small bowel resection with end to end anastamosis.

case 2 mrs eh
Case 2: Mrs EH
  • 73 year old
  • Several weeks of melaena
  • Hypotensive, dizzy and unable to mobilise
  • Hb 51g/L on admission and iron deficient
  • Past history of peptic ulcer disease, rheumatoid arthritis, 2nd degree heart block
  • No non-steroidalsanticoagulants/antiplatelets on admission
case 2 mrs eh1
Case 2: Mrs EH
  • Gastroscopy x2

– Chronic non-bleeding gastric ulcers

  • Colonoscopy

– Blood in colon and ileum

  • CT angiogram – NAD
  • Push enteroscopy to 90cm– NAD
  • Red cell scan

– bleeding in the proximal small bowel

case eh
Case EH

Capsule endoscopy

Blood 2/3 into small bowel transit time

Capsule noted to be in the right iliac fossa on the 8-lead map

case 2 mrs eh2
Case 2 Mrs EH

Anterograde DBE – unremarkable

Retrograde DBE –

ooze over a pulsating area of mucosa 100cm proximal to ileocaecal valve

This represented angioectasia, and was treated with Adrenaline, Argon Plasma Coagulation (APC), and clipping


18units PRBC in a 19 day admission

Haemostasis achieved at retrograde DBE

Patient discharged home 2 days later with no further bleeding

prolonged overt obscure gastrointestinal bleeding a real world experience
Prolonged overt obscure gastrointestinal bleeding – A “real world” experience

PraymanT Sattianayagam, Paul V Desmond, Andrew CF Taylor

Submitted to Digestive Diseases and Sciences 2013

  • To assess
    • the final diagnosis and outcomes in patients with overt obscure GI bleeding
    • clinical features of the patients that may point to the diagnosis
    • diagnostic yield of the battery of investigations used for this group of patients

Over a ten-year period between 2002 and 2012 twenty-eight patients who fulfilled the following inclusion criteria were included in the study:

  • overt GI haemorrhage
  • anaemia requiring transfusion
  • an initial negative gastroscopy and colonoscopy
  • at least one inpatient hospital stay of ≥7 days because of persistent GI bleeding
recorded measurements
Recorded Measurements

The clinical presentation, transfusion requirements and investigations of each patient were recorded

  • until diagnosis and treatment, or
  • until death or census in September 2012

(in those who had undiagnosed OGIB)

  • 28 patients (14 male)
  • Median age at presentation = 68 years (18-88)
  • Median follow-up in the entire cohort was 3 years (0.1-9.4)
  • Drugs potentiating GI bleeding (present in 76% of those >60yo)
    • 10 on aspirin
    • 3 on clopidogrel
    • 4 on warfarin
  • Median timefrom presentation to treatment 5.3 months (0.3 - 48)
  • Median number of units of blood transfused per patient29 (10 - 86) units
  • Repeat gastroscopy/colonoscopy allowed treatment of angioectasias in two elderly patients
  • Radionuclide red cell scans had the highest radiological diagnostic yield but were beneficial only in conjunction with other tests such as CT angiography, which was a useful precursor test to angiographic embolisation
  • Capsule endoscopy had the highest endoscopic diagnostic yield
  • Anterograde double balloon enteroscopy had the best endoscopic diagnostic and therapeutic yield
  • Surgery had a diagnostic and therapeutic yield of 60%, which was better if a definite lesion had been identified previously
  • Overt OGIB is difficult to manage
  • Angioectasias are the commonest cause of overt OGIB in patients over 65 who are often on antiplatelet/anticoagulant therapy
  • Capsule endoscopy is best first-line test, which can guide enteroscopy
  • Nuclear medicine labelled red cell scan helpful but poor localisation
  • CT angiography can guide angiographic embolisation but this requires more rapid rate of bleeding
  • Surgery is often curative if you can localise the site of bleeding prior
  • “Management should be individualised with consideration for repeating investigations”