Long-term effects of video capsule endoscopy in the management of obscure gastrointestinal bleeding
Obscure gastrointestinal bleeding (OGIB) accounts for approximately 5% of all gastrointestinal (GI) hemorrhages. It usually arises from a small bowel lesion beyond the reach of conventional endoscopy including esophagogastroduodenoscopy and colonoscopy. Video capsule endoscopy (VCE) revolutionized the evaluation of OGIB patients since it allows reliable and noninvasive visualization of the small bowel mucosal surface. Since 2001, VCE has evolved into an efficient technology integrated in clinical practice. It is the cornerstone in the algorithm of OGIB investigation given its high diagnostic yield, which compares favorably to that of double-balloon enteroscopy (DBE). In terms of outcomes, a positive index VCE examination usually correlates to a high re-bleeding rate, while a negative one provides adequate evidence of low re-bleeding risk, suggesting a wait and watch approach in this subset of patients. Additionally, a variety of factors has been acknowledged as significant predictors of re-bleeding episodes. While research data regarding immediate endoscopic findings have matured, data concerning the clinical utility of VCE in patients with OGIB on the long-term remain sparse. This manuscript reviews the current literature, aiming to highlight the role of VCE in the long-term management of OGIB.