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Dig Dis Sci. 2007 Jan;52(1):282-6. Epub 2006 Dec 7.

Surgery for obscure lower gastrointestinal bleeding in India.

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  • 1Department of Surgical Gastroenterology, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Rajinder Nagar, New Delhi 110060, India.


Western patients with obscure lower gastrointestinal hemorrhage (OLGIH) are usually 60 years or older, bleed from colonic diverticulosis or angiodysplasia, and need localizing investigations. In India, patients are younger, the causes of bleeding different, and health resources scarce. We followed a policy of early surgical exploration operation and excision of the bleeding source or, if this was not identified, did a right hemicolectomy. The outcome of this strategy was evaluated. Between 1996 and 2003, we managed 62 patients with OLGIH. Localizing investigations such as enteroclysis, radioisotope scanning, angiography, and peroperative enteroscopy were infrequently performed. Fifty patients underwent surgery, emergency (35 pts) or elective (15 pts), and comprised the study group. At operation the lesion was localized in 33 (66%) patients (jejunum in 9 and terminal ileum or cecum in 24) and was resected. In 17 patients no lesion was found and they had a right hemicolectomy. The 30-day mortality was six patients (12%) and included persistent bleeding (three), liver failure (one), and chest infection (one). Five (10%) patients rebled after operation at a mean follow-up of 31 months. Cirrhosis (P=0.003) as a comorbid illness was the only significant factor for rebleed in the right hemicolectomy group. Advanced age (>60 years; P=0.08) might be another risk factor in a larger study. In conclusion, patients with obscure OLGIH in India should have an early operation. If a lesion is not detected, a right hemicolectomy may be done. In this group those with cirrhosis have a higher chance of rebleed, as well as, perhaps, elderly patients.

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