Utility of Computed Tomographic Enteroclysisfor the General Surgeon

Cletus A. Arciero*, Greg N. Bender, Craig D. Shriver

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: Enteroclysis uses contrast fluid distention of the small bowel through a jejunal catheter with flouroscopic imaging to identify abnormalities. Computed tomograpic enteroclysis (CT-E) adds cross-sectional imaging to identify small bowel pathology to include masses, gastrointestinal bleeding of unknown origin, and partial obstruction. Computed tomography-enteroclysis is being used more frequently in the assessment of patients with possible small bowel pathology. This study examines the applicability of CT-E and its superiority over conventional enteroclysis. METHODS: A retrospective chart review was used to examine all CT-E and enteroclysis studies performed at our institution during a 24-month period (August 1997 to August 1999). All patients that had received CT-E or enteroclysis were divided into 3 categories; group I: small bowel mass, group II: gastrointestinal bleeding, and group III: partial small bowel obstruction (pSBO). All patients included had received other radiological procedures based on the indication for examination to include esophagogastroduodenoscopy, colonoscopy, CT, abdominal x-rays, barium enema, and upper gastrointestinal with small bowel follow-through. RESULTS: Forty-nine studies were performed, with enteroclysis or CT-E, used in 46 patients. Median age was 62 years (M:F, 1:1). In group 1 (n = 10), no masses were noted, but all patients identified as having a mass on previous studies (n = 6) were determined not to have a mass by CT-E (n = 1) and enteroclysis (n = 5). In group II (n = 19), 1 small bowel source (jejujunal arteriovenous malformation) was identified through CT-E, and all other studies in both categories were negative/normal. In group III (n = 20), 5 pSBO were identified through CT-E that had not been previously described. CONCLUSIONS: Enteroclysis and CT-E are both effective at disproving the presence of small bowel masses discovered through less-specific radiological methods. In terms of gastrointestinal bleeding, CT-E is as effective as enteroclysis at identifying source of bleeding and may have an added role through its ability to better identify anatomic relationships. Computed tomography-enteroclysis was able to determine the presence of pSBO in 5 patients that previously had been undiagnosed. In conclusion, enteroclysis remains an effective radiological study for examination of the small bowel. Computed tomographyenteroclysis matches that effectiveness with the added benefit on high-resolution anatomic images that serve it well as an additional diagnostic tool for the General Surgeon in patients with difficult to diagnose small bowel pathology. (Curr Surg 58:205-208).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)205-208
Number of pages4
JournalCurrent Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Computed tomographic enteroclysis
  • Gastrointestinal bleed
  • Small bowel neoplasm
  • Small bowel obstruction


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