Usefulness of over-the-scope clipping system for closing digestive fistulas

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Background and Aim:

Therapeutic endoscopy has recently evolved into the treatment of complex gastrointestinal (GI) postoperative leakage, especially with over-the-scope clips (OTSC). We describe our 2-year experience of 30 patients treated for digestive fistulas using the OTSC device.


This was a retrospective study conducted on patients referred for GI fistulas in two French hospitals. Technical aspects, clinical outcomes and closure rates were recorded.


Thirty patients were treated for GI leaks: 19 (63%) had a gastric fistula after laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy (LSG); the others had rectovaginal, urethrorectal, rectovesical, gastrogastric, gastrocutaneous, esophagojejunal fistulas and colorectal anastomotic leak. Average follow up was 10.4 months. Eighteen (60%) had undergone previous endoscopic or surgical treatment. Orifice size was 3–20 mm (average 7.2 mm). Successful OTSC placement was achieved in 30 out of 34 attempts. There were four intraoperative undesired events (13.3%) but these were successfully managed. Overall success rate was 71.4% and 16 patients (53%) recovered with primary efficacy. Six patients (20%) required a subsequent endoscopic treatment. Eight patients (26.7%) required surgery for failure. In nine cases, we used one or more additional endoscopic procedures concomitantly with the OTSC combining self-expandable metal stents, standard clips and glue injection. Healing rate after LSG fistula was 88.9%, which was significantly higher than the overall rate (P = 0.01).


OTSC placement seems to be safe and effective for the treatment of GI fistulas. Better results were seen in leaks after LSG.

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