Carcinoids and Capsules: A Case Series Highlighting the Utility of Capsule Endoscopy in Patients With Small Bowel Carcinoids

Michael G. Noujaim, Jonathan Green, May Min, Christopher R. Schlieve, Krunal Patel, Mitchell Cahan, David Cave


Background: Neuroendocine tumors (NETs) or carcinoids arise at many different sites of the gastrointestinal tract. The small intestine is the most common site for NETs. Diagnosing small bowel carcinoids remains challenging given their non-specific presentations and the overall low incidence of small bowel tumors. Video capsule endoscopy (VCE) has significanly improved our ability to detect small bowel malignancies. We explore the value of VCE in the initial workup and management of a series of small bowel carcinoid patients.

Methods: We retrospectively analyzed adult patients undergoing surgical management for small bowel lesions from July 2005 to September 2015 at a tertiary care center. Patient characteristics, presenting symptomatology, diagnostic workup and surgical management were analyzed among patients with histologically confirmed small bowel carcinoid tumors.

Results: Our study identified 16 patients treated surgically for small bowel carcinoids. The majority of patients (87.5%) presented with either occult gastrointestinal bleeding or anemia. Most patients (87.5%) were initially evaluated with various endoscopic and imaging modalities before all ultimately undergoing surgery. Seventy-five percent of patients had a VCE, with 83.3% (10/12) having positive findings that correlated with intraoperative findings compared to 62.5% (5/8) with computed tomography scan, 21.4% (3/14) with colonoscopy, 44% (4/9) with deep enteroscopy, and 0% (0/9) with esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD).

Conclusions: In the absence of any contraindications, VCE is an effective endoscopic modality in the diagnostic workup of small bowel NETs. Furthermore, positive VCE findings appear to highly correlate with surgical findings, thus suggesting a valuable role for VCE in the initial surgical assessment of patients with small bowel NETs.

Gastroenterol Res. 2017;10(6):347-351


Carcinoid; Neuroendocrine tumors; Small bowel; Video capsule endoscopy; Surgical resection

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