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Conventional algorithms for diagnosis and treatment of gastrointestinal bleeding (GIB) in patients with nonpulsatile ventricular assist devices (VADs) may take days to perform while patients require transfusions. We developed a new algorithm based on deep overtube-assisted enteroscopy (DOAE) to facilitate a rapid diagnosis and treatment. From 2004 to 2012, 84 patients who underwent VAD placement in our institution, were evaluated for episodes of GIB. Our new algorithm for the management of GIB using DOAE was evaluated by dividing the episodes into three groups: group A (traditional management without enteroscopy), group B (traditional management with enteroscopy performed >24 hours after presentation), and group C (new management algorithm with enteroscopy performedpresentation). Gastrointestinal bleeding was observed in 14 (17%) of our study patients for a total of 45 individual episodes of which 28 met our criteria for subanalysis. Forty-one (84%) lesions were confined to the upper gastrointestinal tract with more than 91% of these lesions being arteriovenous malformations. Average number of transfusions in groups A, B, and C were 4.1, 6.3, and 1.3, respectively (p = 0.001). The number of days to treatment was significantly shorter in group C than group B (0.4 vs. 5.3 days, p = 0.0002). Our new algorithm for the management of GIB using DOAE targets the most common locations of bleeding found in this patient population. When performed early, DOAE has the potential to decrease the need for transfusions and allow for an early diagnosis of GIB in VAD recipients.

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