Ann R Coll Surg Engl. 2022 Feb;104(2):100-105. doi: 10.1308/rcsann.2021.1387.
INTRODUCTION: The clinical presentation of lower gastrointestinal bleeding (LGIB) is variable in severity, cause and potential investigations. The British Society of Gastroenterology recently published LGIB guidelines, recommending CT angiography (CT-A) for haemodynamically unstable patients, defined by shock index (SI) greater than 1. The aim of this study was to assess the use and role of CT-A in diagnosing LGIB, by assessing the pickup rate of active LGIB defined by contrast extravasation or 'blush' and to determine any association between positive CT-A with various patient and clinical characteristics.
METHODS: A retrospective analysis was carried out of 4 years of LGIB admissions. Demographics, inpatient observations and use of blood products were acquired. Vital signs nearest the time of CT-A plus abnormal vital signs preceding imaging were used to calculate SI, Age SI, National Early Warning Score 2 (NEWS2) and Standardised Early Warning Score (SEWS). A consultant gastrointestinal radiologist further reviewed all consultant-reported scans.
RESULTS: In total, 930 patients were admitted with LGIB. Median age was 71 years and 51% were male; 179 (19.2%) patients received red blood cell transfusion and 93 patients (10%) underwent CT-A, who were older and were likely to be hypotensive and receive red cell transfusions. Following exclusions, 92 CT-As were included in the analysis. Nine (9.8%) were positive. Univariate analysis showed no association between positive CT-A and any scoring system. A multivariate analysis, including age and gender, showed association between both NEWS2 and SEWS scores with positive CT-A.
CONCLUSION: In our analysis of the typical LGIB population, CT-A has shown relatively low pick up rate of active bleeding. CT-A clearly has a role in the investigation of LGIB, but selection remains challenging.