Anton Bermont MD, Daniel L Cohen MD, Vered Richter MD, Efrat Broide MD, and Haim Shirin MD
Background: One of the main causes of iron deficiency anemia (IDA) is chronic gastrointestinal blood loss. The use of video capsule endoscopy (VCE) after negative bidirectional endoscopy in patients with IDA is controversial.
Objectives: To evaluate the effect of VCE in the management and long-term outcomes of IDA patients.
Methods: A retrospective case-control study was performed on all patients with IDA undergoing VCE over a 5-year period. We compared those with positive findings on VCE to those with normal findings. All participants previously underwent a negative bidirectional endoscopy
Results: We performed 199 VCE examinations; median follow-up time was 4 years (IQR 2–5). Positive findings were identified in 66 patients (diagnostic yield 33.2%). Double balloon enteroscopy or push enteroscopy was performed in eight patients (18.6%); only one was therapeutic. The main therapy in both groups was iron supplementation. There were no significant differences in iron treatment before and after VCE in each group and between groups. Anemia improved in both groups. There was no difference in the level of hemoglobin change between the groups during each year of follow-up compared to the baseline level prior to VCE. Anemia resolved in 15 patients (35%) in the positive VCE group and in 19 (45%) in the negative VCE group (P = 0.33).
Conclusions: Positive findings on VCE led to subsequent endoscopic interventions only in a small percentage of patients with IDA. Anemia improved and resolved equally whether or not there were VCE findings. The main intervention that appears to help IDA is iron supplementation.