CUHK Introduces Double Balloon Enteroscopy Service to Manage Small Bowel Diseases

Professor Ka Leung CHAN (left), Professor of Medicine & Therapeutics and Dr Aric Josun HUI, Clinical Assistant Professor (honorary), Department of Medicine & Therapeutics, CUHK

It usually takes around two years to identify the source of bleeding in patients who will suffer from repeated hospitalizations, blood transfusions and invasive procedures. With the aging population and more frequent usage of aspirin, more and more patients suffer bleeding from the small bowel. Apart from small bowel bleeding, diagnoses of other small bowel diseases also require a reliable and accurate examination method.

Professor Francis Ka Leung CHAN and Dr Aric Josun HUI from The Institute of Digestive Diseases at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) are proud to announce the availability of Double Balloon Enteroscopy (DBE) service. DBE and Capsule Endoscopy (CE) are two safe and non-invasive techniques best for examining the small bowel. While CE is more comfortable and convenient for patients, DBE can provide immediate treatment to any diseases found. For example, if bleeding from the small bowel is found in a patient, doctors can use DBE to stop the bleeding and thus saving the patient from surgery. DBE is also better than CE as it can accurately mark the location of tumors, greatly assisting surgeons to locate and remove them. The surgeries can be performed laparoscopically and the surgeons do not need to open up the patients’ abdomen to examine the small bowel.

The Institute of Digestive Diseases at CUHK, in collaboration with the Alice Ho Miu Ling Nethersole Hospital at Tai Po, has been providing DBE service since 2006. Over 140 examinations have been performed on 100 patients ranging from 16 years old to 90 years old. The most common diagnoses include small bowel ulcers (25 patients), bleeding blood vessels (9 patients) and small bowel tumors (9 patients). DBE has also been used to stop bleeding, remove polyps, mark the location of tumors and in one particular patient, retrieve a trapped capsule endoscopy.  The technique has an excellent safety record with only one case of bowel perforation (complication rate 0.69%). That particular patient has fully recovered after a surgery. No other fatalities or serious complications have arisen among patients receiving this examination.

The Institute of Digestive Diseases at CUHK is one of the pioneers in introducing DBE to Hong Kong and it is the most experienced organization in using DBE for both diagnosis and treatment in the territory. Many patients who suffered repeated bleeding from the small bowel were diagnosed and treated after receiving the DBE examination.