The value of endoscopy and biopsy after intestinal transplantation in the absence of clinical concerns has never been investigated. We examined clinical yield of routine surveillance endoscopy and biopsy (control group, n = 28, Jan 2011 to Jun 2014). Most episodes of acute rejection were diagnosed when there were clinical symptoms or signs such as increased stoma output, fever, or bacteremia, but not by routine surveillance endoscopy and biopsy. The new protocol abandoned routine surveillance. Intestinal allografts were examined only when relevant clinical symptoms and/or signs raised concern for graft dysfunction. We compared outcomes between control and study groups (new protocol, n = 25, Jul 2014 to Dec 2016). Incidence of acute rejection (32% vs 32%), graft salvage rate after acute rejection treatment (78% vs 63%), patient survival (75% vs 88% 1 year, 71% vs 83% 3 years after intestinal transplantation), and graft survival (68% vs 80% 1 year, 61% vs 76% 3 years after intestinal transplantation) were similar between control and study groups. Protocol-driven, routine surveillance endoscopy, and biopsy do not appear to confer any survival advantage to patients or grafts. Endoscopy and biopsy “for cause” without routine surveillance seem to be effective and adequate to monitor intestinal allografts.
- diagnostic techniques and imaging
- protocol biopsy