Endoscopic ultrasound-guided vascular therapy: is it safe and effective?

PMID 22389233


Recent developments in therapeutic endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) have enabled new approaches to the management of refractory gastrointestinal bleeding, including EUS-guided sclerotherapy and vessel embolization. Few cases have been reported in the literature. Eight patients were admitted for severe, refractory gastrointestinal bleeding, seven of whom were actively bleeding. Causes of bleeding were gastric varices secondary to portal hypertension (n = 3); gastroduodenal artery aneurysm or fundal aneurysmal arterial malformation (n = 3); and Dieulafoy's ulcer (n = 2); the latter five patients having arterial bleeding. During the procedures, the bleeding vessel was punctured with a 19-gauge needle then injected with a sclerosing agent (cyanoacrylate glue [n = 6] or polidocanol 2 % [n = 2]) under Doppler control. The median follow-up time was 9 months (3 - 18 months). In all 10 endoscopic procedures were performed. The procedure was successful at the first attempt in seven out of eight patients (87.5 %). No clinical complications were observed, although in one case there was diffusion of cyanoacrylate in the hepatic artery. The seven successful cases all showed immediate and complete disappearance of the Doppler flow signal at the end of the procedure. This retrospective study highlights the utility of EUS-guided vascular therapy. However, more large randomized studies should be conducted to confirm these results.