Using Capsule Endoscopy to Identify GI Tract Lesions in Cirrhotic Patients With Portal Hypertension and Chronic Anemia

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We aimed to evaluate the ability of capsule endoscopy (CE) to detect small intestine (SI) lesions, especially SI varices, in patients with intrahepatic cirrhosis, portal hypertension (PHTN), and chronic anemia.


Gastroesophageal variceal bleeding is a well-recognized complication of cirrhosis and PHTN, yet methods of identifying lesions in the SI that may contribute to covert bleeding and anemia, such as small bowel enteroscopy and angiography, are invasive and may be inadequate.


In this observational pilot study, 19 consecutive patients presenting to a tertiary care, liver transplantation referral center with cirrhosis, PHTN, and chronic anemia after obliterative esophageal variceal therapy were evaluated with wireless CE using the GIVEN Pillcam SB M2A capsule. Two independent and blinded examiners reviewed the CE examinations.


SI varices were identified in 15.8% (3/19) of patients. Other PHTN-related findings included portal hypertensive gastropathy (13/19, 68.4%), portal hypertensive enteropathy (12/19, 63.1%), and portal hypertensive colopathy (3/19, 15.8%). Two patients had nonbleeding esophageal varices (2/19, 10.5%). A potential source of gastrointestinal blood loss was identified in 89.5% (17/19) of patients. Active bleeding sites were identified in 15.8% (3/19).


CE can identify potential bleeding sources and could have diagnostic utility in patients with end-stage liver disease and chronic anemia after obliterative esophageal variceal therapy.

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