Therapeutic Endoscopy for the Control of Nonvariceal Upper Gastrointestinal Bleeding in Children: A Case Series

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Gastrointestinal bleeding is one of the most common indications for urgent endoscopy in the pediatric setting. The majority of these procedures are performed for control of variceal bleeding, with few performed for nonvariceal upper gastrointestinal (NVUGI) bleeding. The data on therapeutic endoscopy for NVUGI are sparse. The aims of our study were to review our experience with NVUGI bleeding, describe technical aspects and outcomes of therapeutic endoscopy, and determine gastroenterology fellows’ training opportunities according to the national training guidelines.


We performed a retrospective review of endoscopy database (Endoworks, Olympus Inc, Center Valley, PA) from January 2009 to December 2014. The search used the following keywords: bleeding, hematemesis, melena, injection, epinephrine, cautery, clip, and argon plasma coagulation. The collected data included demographics, description of bleeding lesion and medical/endoscopic therapy, rate of rebleeding, relevant laboratories, physical examination, and need for transfusion and surgery. The study was approved by the institutional review board.


During the study period 12,737 upper endoscopies (esophagogastroduodenoscopies) were performed. A total of 15 patients underwent 17 esophagogastroduodenoscopies that required therapeutic intervention to control bleeding (1:750 procedures). The mean ± standard deviation (median) age of patients who required endoscopic intervention was 11.6 ± 6.0 years (14.0 years). Seven out of 17 patients received dual therapy to control the bleeding lesions. All but 3 patients received medical therapy with intravenous proton pump inhibitor, and 3 received octreotide infusions. Six of the patients experienced rebleeding (40%), with 4 out of 6 initially only receiving single modality therapy. Two of these patients eventually required surgical intervention to control bleeding and both patients presented with bleeding duodenal ulcers. There were no cases of aspiration, perforation, or deaths. There were a total of 24 fellows trained in our program during the study period. Less than 1 therapeutic endoscopy per fellow for NVUGI bleeding was performed.


NVUGI bleeding requiring therapeutic endoscopic intervention is rare in pediatrics. A high rate (40%) of rebleeding was noted with a large proportion (66%) of patients receiving single modality therapy. Two patients required surgical intervention to control bleeding and both presented with bleeding duodenal ulcers. An insufficient number of therapeutic procedures is available for adequate fellow training requiring supplemental simulator and hands-on animal model, or adult endoscopy unit training.

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