Obscure Gastrointestinal Bleeding in Cirrhosis: Work-up and Management

  • Sergio Zepeda-GómezEmail author
  • Brendan Halloran
Management of Cirrhotic Patient (A Cardenas and P Tandon, Section Editors)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Management of the Cirrhotic Patient


Purpose of Review

Obscure gastrointestinal bleeding (OGIB) in patients with cirrhosis can be a diagnostic and therapeutic challenge. Recent advances in the approach and management of this group of patients can help to identify the source of bleeding. While the work-up of patients with cirrhosis and OGIB is the same as with patients without cirrhosis, clinicians must be aware that there are conditions exclusive for patients with portal hypertension that can potentially cause OGIB.

Recent Findings

New endoscopic and imaging techniques are capable to identify sources of OGIB. Balloon-assisted enteroscopy (BAE) allows direct examination of the small-bowel mucosa and deliver specific endoscopic therapy. Conditions such as ectopic varices and portal hypertensive enteropathy are better characterized with the improvement in visualization by these techniques. New algorithms in the approach and management of these patients have been proposed.


There are new strategies for the approach and management of patients with cirrhosis and OGIB due to new developments in endoscopic techniques for direct visualization of the small bowel along with the capability of endoscopic treatment for different types of lesions. Patients with cirrhosis may present with OGIB secondary to conditions associated with portal hypertension.


Obscure gastrointestinal bleeding Cirrhosis Portal hypertension Ectopic varices Portal hypertensive enteropathy 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Sergio Zepeda-Gomez and Brendan Halloran each declare no potential conflicts of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Gastroenterology, Small Bowel ProgramUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada

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