A recent study (J Yeh et al. JPGN 2015; 61: 636-40) indicated a high rate of endoscopy complications in pediatric patients who have undergone intestinal transplantation.
- Complications: In this single-center study with 1770 endoscopies (1014 sessions), the serious GI complication rate was 1.8% (32/1770). The complications included 11 GI perforations, 13 GI bleeds, 6 GI hematomas, 1 gastric mucosa avulsion, and 1 distention from retained air. The authors’ database was not designed to capture cardiopulmonary complications.
- In comparison, the authors note that adults without intestinal transplantation have an estimated a perforation rate of 0.09% and serious complication rates (GI and non-GI complications) of 0.15% for upper endoscopy and of 0.2% for colonoscopy. In addition, a large pediatric study of non-transplant patient endoscopies, found a perforation rate of 0.014% for EGDs and 0.028% for colonoscopies. Thus, the authors are reporting a perforation rate (11 of 1770) that is more than 20-fold higher than this pediatric study’s colonoscopy perforation rate.
- Their techniques are well-described. For example, “for ileoscopies, 2 to 3 sites each consisting of 2 to 3 biopsies were also taken every 5 to 10 cm from the distal graft…typically surveyed up to 50 to 60 cm from the ostomy or ileocolonic anastomosis.”
- The reasons for endoscopy were most frequently related to diarrhea/stool output in 35% and for surveillance in 32%.
- The other interesting finding was that “of histology-proven rejections, 45% had normal-appearing endoscopies.”
The authors recommend that patients with intestinal transplantation should have endoscopy at a specialized center with teams who are intimately familiar with these children.
My take: I worry that the high complication rates reported at this center may indicate that individuals (perhaps in training) who are less familiar with the patient’s anatomy are performing many of these endoscopies. I think individuals very familiar with the patient’s anatomy are best-suited to perform these endoscopies; this may limit some individuals at these specialized centers and may include some skilled endoscopists outside of intestinal transplant centers.
Related blog post: Something Bad is Going to Happen | gutsandgrowth