Endoscopic management of perforations, leaks and fistulas
The endoscopic management armamentarium of gastrointestinal disruptions including perforations, leaks, and fistulas has slowly but steadily broadened in recent years. Previously limited to surgical or conservative medical management, innovations in advanced endoscopic techniques like natural orifice transluminal endoscopic surgery (NOTES) have paved the path towards development of endoscopic closure techniques. Early recognition of a gastrointestinal defect is the most important independent variable in determining successful endoscopic closure and patient outcome. Some devices including through the scope clips and stents have been well studied for other indications and have produced encouraging results in closure of gastrointestinal perforations, leaks and fistulas. Over the scope clips, endoscopic sutures, vacuum therapy, glue, and cardiac device occluders are other alternative techniques that can be employed for successful endoscopic closure.