Background: double-balloon enteroscopy (DBE) is becoming more commonly used for investigation of small bowel pathology. Currently, there are limited data to describe its safety and efficacy in the population over age 65.
Aim: to investigate the indications, findings and outcomes of DBE performed in patients older than 80, as well as the correlation between DBE and prior capsule endoscopy (CE) findings.
Methods: we retrospectively reviewed our large DBE database, including procedures from January 2006 to September 2012. Patients aged 80 or older at the time of DBE were included in the study. The indications, findings, outcomes and diagnostic yield of DBE were calculated by frequency analysis.
Results: two hundred and fifteen DBEs were performed in 130 patients aged 80 or older. The mean age was 83.6 ± 3.03 years (range: 80–94). Twelve patients (9.2%) were assigned an American Society of Anaesthesiologists score of II prior to procedure, 102 patients (78.4%) were assigned a score of III and 16 patients (12.3%) were given a score of IV. The most common indication for DBE was obscure gastrointestinal bleeding (N = 204, 94.9%). One hundred and fourteen patients (87.7%) underwent CE prior to DBE, and correlation between findings of CE and DBE occurred in 74.6% of these patients. The overall diagnostic yield of DBE was 77.2% (N = 166). There were no immediate post-procedural complications or failed procedures.
Conclusion: DBE is a safe and effective technique for investigation of the small bowel in patients aged 80 and older. Age alone should not be a contraindication to performing DBE when clinically indicated.