Background: Double balloon endoscopy (DBE) and videocapsule endoscopy (VCE) have been useful in managing obscure GI bleeding (OGIB). Objective: This study evaluated the usefulness of DBE for diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis of OGIB and compared diagnostic yield between DBE and VCE in Japan. Methods: Detection rates of abnormalities and diagnostic yields between VCE and DBE were compared in 74 patients at 5 centers. Of 244 patients who underwent DBE at Nagoya University Hospital, 130 (53%) with OGIB were enrolled for investigation of therapeutic procedures. Setting: Seven Japanese medical centers. Patients: Of 1034 patients who underwent DBE between September 2000 and December 2005 at 7 medical centers, 479 (46%) with OGIB were enrolled. Results: Overall diagnostic yield of DBE for OGIB was 277 of 479 (58%). In patients with overt-ongoing bleeding, overt-previous bleeding of sporadic type, overt-previous bleeding of first attack only, occult bleeding with continuous positive fecal occult blood test (FOBT), or occult bleeding with 1 positive FOBT with iron deficiency anemia, diagnostic yield was 24 of 31 (77%), 179 of 310 (58%), 34 of 72 (47%), 24 of 35 (71%), and 56 of 93 (60%), respectively. Regarding positive findings in 277 patients, ulcers or erosions (53%) were the most frequent, followed by angiodysplasia (23%), tumors or polyps (22%), and diverticula (4%). Diagnoses in these patients were as follows: chronic inflammatory diseases (24%), vascular diseases (24%), tumor or polyps (21%), drug or radiation injury (7%), other small-bowel diseases (7%), upper GI diseases (9%), colorectal diseases (9%), and biliary disease (0.4%). Small-bowel diseases were confirmed in 226 patients (47%). Comparison of overall detection rate of abnormalities in the small bowel between VCE (65%) and DBE (53%) was not significantly different, nor was that of overall diagnostic yield between VCE (50%) and DBE (53%). Eight acute pancreatitis and 4 perforation episodes occurred with no mortalities at DBE. Of 130 patients at Nagoya University Hospital, 78 (60%) were diagnosed with small-bowel diseases and underwent treatments as follows: medication or observation only (n = 30), enteroscopic therapies (electrocoagulation in 21, clipping in 4, and polypectomy in 3), and surgery (n = 22). Small-bowel vascular diseases were more prone to rebleeding than small-bowel nonvascular diseases in patients without surgical treatment at a median follow-up of 423 days. Conclusions: DBE was relatively safe and useful for diagnosis and treatment of OGIB. A spectrum of small-bowel diseases presenting with OGIB in Japan may be distinct from that in the Western world.
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