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Theodor Voiosu, Andrei Voiosu, Andreea Benguş and Bogdan Mateescu


Background: Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography has evolved significantly in recent years. The increase in complexity and range of applications has not been adequately reflected in an improvement of training methods for ERCP, with many endoscopists failing to meet required performance standards during their training period and limited available data on their performance immediately after completing training. We aimed to analyze the performance of an independent operator from a developing country after the completion of formal training with regard to procedure and patient-related outcomes. Methods: We conducted an observational study of ERCPs performed by a young endoscopist from a referral center. Data about the procedure, cannulation technique (including use of precut), trainee involvement and procedure-related outcomes was retrieved and analyzed from a prospectively maintained database on quality in ERCP (the QUASIE initiative). Results: Data from 679 consecutive ERCPs conducted or supervised by one endoscopist with < 200 independent procedures prior to the study period were included in the final analysis. Cannulation rates significantly improved over time, from 90% to 96% (p=0.016). Use of precut techniques changed significantly over time, with an initial increase followed by a subsequent decrease as overall cannulation rates improved. Trainee involvement was significantly associated with prolonged cannulation times (p=0.003) and use of precut (p=0.001), but did not impact on technical success or patient safety. Conclusions: Independent practice of ERCP after the training period is characterized by on-going changes in technique, especially with regard to cannulation and use of precut, showing significant improvements in performance over time.

Open access

Theodor Voiosu, Andrei Voiosu, Andreea Benguş, Mihai Rimbaş and Bogdan Mateescu


Background and aims. Selective cannulation of the desired duct is a key element in ERCP procedures and an important step in the training of fellows. However, there is limited data about technical success and patient safety for ERCPs conducted in a training setting.We aimed to evaluate the impact of trainee involvement on the cannulation technique and procedure related outcomes at ERCP.

Materials and methods. We conducted an observational study of all ERCP conducted in an endoscopy unit with an on-going training program. Patient related data and procedure-related data (method of cannulation, time to cannulation, degree of trainee involvement, technical success and procedure-related adverse events) were collected using a standard form. The method of cannulation, time to cannulation and procedure-related adverse events were compared between ERCPs with trainee involvement and those without.

Results. 641 consecutive ERCPs were evaluated and 474 native papilla cases performed by 4 trainers and 3 trainees were included in the final analysis. Trainees were involved in 171 procedures (36.1%), achieving cannulation of the desired duct in 50.8% of the cases. Cannulation rates were similar in the trainee group compared to the control group (91.7% vs. 88.7%) and there was no increase in the rate of adverse events. However, cannulation time was significantly longer in the trainee group with a significant increase in the rate of precut use (32.1% vs. 23.4%, p < 0.001).

Conclusions. Trainee involvement resulted in longer cannulation times and increased use of precut sphincterotomy, but, was not associated with an increased risk of procedure related adverse events.

Open access

Andrada-Viorela Gheorghe, Mihai Rimbas, Octav Ginghina, Andrada Spanu and Theodor Alexandru Voiosu


Background. Gastric neuroendocrine tumors (GI-NETs) are rare lesions, usually discovered incidentally during endoscopy. Based on their pathology, there are 4 types of GI-NETs. Type I are multiple small polypoid lesions with central ulceration located in the gastric body or the fundus, associated with atrophic gastritis usually noninvasive and very rarely metastatic. We report on a rare case of a gastric NET arising from the muscularis propria layer of the pyloric ring.

Case report. We present the case of a 65-year old woman with a history of alcoholic cirrhosis, investigated for melena. Upper endoscopy revealed a 30 mm submucosal pedunculated polypoid lesion located on the pylorus protruding in the duodenum, with normal overlying mucosa, fundic gastric atrophy and multiple small polyps at this level, with no active bleeding. CT scan did not reveal any distant metastases. An ultrasound endoscopy was performed, and a round hypoechoic heterogeneous solitary mass, evolving from the pyloric muscle was described. Considering a 30-mm tumor evolving from the gastric muscle layer in the absence of local invasion and with no distant metastases we decided against an endoscopical resection and we referred the patient to surgery. A laparoscopic wedge resection was performed. The pathology report described a 30/25 mm welldifferentiated neuroendocrine tumor invasive in the muscularis mucosa (pT3).

Conclusions. Usually, type I neuroendocrine tumors are located in the body or the fundus of the stomach without submucosal invasion. The interesting feature in our case was that the tumor originated from the pylorus, making it an atypical presentation for a neuroendocrine tumor.

Open access

Theodor Alexandru Voiosu, Andrada Viorela Gheorghe, Dan Adrian Bobeica, Andrei Mihai Voiosu and Radu Bogdan Mateescu


Tracheoesophageal fistula (TEF) is frequently congenital and requires surgical correction. TEF can also occur secondary to malignant esophageal tumors or benign diseases and these cases are managed by endoscopic means, such as closing the defect with metallic stents. Although esophageal injury can occur secondary to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), TEF secondary to chronic NSAIDs use has not been described in the literature.

We report the case of a male patient with refractory migraine and chronic use of NSAIDs, with a history of esophageal stenosis presenting with acute-onset total dysphagia. Upper gastrointestinal endoscopy and CT-scan revealed TEF located at 25 cm from the incisors. An esophageal stent was placed endoscopically, and 6 weeks a second stent was placed in a stent-in-stent manner to allow removal of both stents. Endoscopic control after the removal of the stents showed the persistence of the fistula, so a third stent was placed as a rescue therapy.

Against medical advice, the patient continued to use OTC painkillers and NSAIDs in large doses. Three months later, he was readmitted with total dysphagia and recent-onset dysphonia. CT scan revealed a new fistula above the already placed stent. A second metallic stent was endoscopically placed through the old stent to close the newly developed fistula. The patient was discharged on the third day with no complications and he remains well at 6 months follow-up.

Due to small cases studies, recurrent TEF remains a therapeutic challenge. Endoscopic therapy is usually an effective solution, but complex cases might require multiple treatment sessions.

Open access

T. Voiosu, Andreea Benguş, P. Bălănescu, Roxana Dinu, A. Voiosu, C. Băicuş and B. Mateescu


Background and Aims. Serum and fecal biomarkers have been used as noninvasive methods for assessing disease activity in ulcerative colitis. C-reactive protein, serum tumor necrosis factor-α and fecal calprotectin are among the most promising such biomarkers. However, their role in the management of ulcerative colitis patients remains to be clarified. We aimed to evaluate the accuracy of C-reactive protein, fecal calprotectin and tumor necrosis factor-α in detecting clinical and endoscopic activity and predicting disease outcome.

Methods. A cohort of ulcerative colitis patients was prospectively evaluated for clinical and endoscopic disease activity using the Mayo score. Serum C-reactive protein and tumor necrosis factor-α levels were measured and a point-of-care method was used for determining Calprotectin levels.

Results. Fifty-three patients with ulcerative colitis were followed for a median of 12 months. Fecal calprotectin and C-reactive protein levels were significantly higher in patients with clinically active disease at baseline, but only calprotectin levels correlated with endoscopic activity. Calprotectin values over 300 μg/g had 60% sensitivity and 90% specificity for detecting active endoscopic disease and 61% sensitivity and 89% specificity for predicting mucosal healing.

Conclusion. Rapid calprotectin testing is a better predictor of mucosal healing than serum biomarkers and it could improve the management of ulcerative colitis patients by decreasing the need for invasive investigations.

Open access

Andrada Gheorghe, Denise Carmen Mihaela Zahiu, Theodor Alexandru Voiosu, Bogdan Radu Mateescu, Mihail Radu Voiosu and Mihai Rimbaş


Background and aims. As already known, spondyloarthritis patients present a striking resemblance in intestinal inflammation with early Crohn’s disease. Moreover, the frequent use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs is an important part of their treatment. Both conditions could lead to intestinal stenoses. Therefore we proposed to investigate the usefulness of the patency capsule test in patients with spondyloarthritis.

Material and methods. 64 consecutive patients (33 males; mean age 38 ± 11 years) that fulfilled the AMOR criteria for seronegative spondyloarthropathy (59.4% ankylosing spondylitis) lacking symptoms or signs of intestinal stenosis were enrolled and submitted to an AGILE™ capsule patency test followed by a video capsule endoscopy (PillCam SB2™), as part of a protocol investigating the presence of intestinal inflammatory lesions. After reviewing the VCE recordings, the Lewis score (of small bowel inflammatory involvement) was computed.

Results. In only 5 patients (7.8%) of the study group, the luminal patency test was negative. However, there was no retention of the videocapsule in any of the patients. From the 59 patients with a positive patency test, 3 patients presented single small bowel stenoses (two with ulcerated overlying inflamed mucosa, one cicatricial), all being traversed by the videocapsule along the length of the recording. None of the patients with a negative test had bowel stenoses. There was no correlation between the patency test and the Lewis score, the C reactive protein value, diagnosis of inflammatory bowel disease, or the family history of spondyloarthritis, psoriasis or inflammatory bowel disease.

Conclusion. The AGILE patency capsule does not seem to be a useful tool for all patients with spondyloarthritis prior to small bowel videocapsule endoscopy ( ID NCT 00768950).

Open access

T. Voiosu, Alina Tanţău, A. Voiosu, Andreea Benguş, Cristina Mocanu, Bianca Smarandache, C. Baicuş, Ioana Vişovan and B. Mateescu


Background. Optimal bowel preparation is one of the most important factors affecting the quality of colonoscopy. Several patient-related factors are known to influence the quality of bowel cleansing but randomized trials in this area are lacking. We aimed to compare an individualized bowel prep strategy based on patient characteristics to a standard preparation regimen.

Material and Methods. We conducted an endoscopist-blinded multicenter randomized control-trial. The Boston Bowel Prep Score (BBPS) was used to assess quality of bowel preparation and a 10 point visual analogue scale to assess patient comfort during bowel prep. Patients were randomised to either the standard regimens of split-dose 4L polyethylene-glycol (group A), split-dose sodium picosulphate/magnesium citrate (group B) or to either of the two depending on their responses to a 3-item questionnaire (individualized preparation, group C).

Results. 185 patients were randomized during the study period and 143 patients were included in the final analysis. Patients in the individualized group had a median BBPS of 7 compared to a median of 6 in the standard group (p = 0.7). Also, there was no significant difference in patients’ comfort scores, irrespective of study group or laxative regimen. However, on multivariable analysis, a split-dose 4L polyethylene-glycol was an independent predictor for achieving a BBPS>6 (OR 3.7, 95% CI 1.4-9.8), regardless of patient-related factors.

Conclusion. The choice of laxative seems to be more important than patient-related factors in predicting bowel cleansing. Comfort during bowel prep is not influenced by the type of strategy used.

Open access

Polliana Mihaela Leru, Vlad Florin Anton, Horia Zacheu, Theodor Voiosu and Dumitru Matei

Open access

Maria Alexandra Barbu, Cornelia Niţipir, Theodor Voiosu and Călin Giurcăneanu


Introduction. Skin toxicity in patients receiving novel therapeutic cancer agents has become a very important marker in determining drug activity, but it can also severely impact their quality of life. About half of the patients receiving this type of oncologic treatment will develop cutaneous reactions, that is why adequate understanding and management of these side effects is very important for drug adherence and patients’ quality of life.

Materials and methods. We conducted a prospective study of consecutive patients who received oncologic treatment in our institution and presented with dermatologic side effects. The severity of skin toxicity was assessed using the DLQI score and patients were prospectively followed to evaluate response to therapy. Univariate analysis of factors influencing the impact of skin toxicity on patient QOL was conducted.

Results. 52 patients were enrolled in the study. Patients who developed grade 3 and 4 skin toxicity had a higher DLQI score, with a greater impact on quality of life, but with better clinical outcome at 3 months follow-up, based on RECIST. Patients with moderate or severe cutaneous AE were more likely to achieve complete or partial response to therapy than those with mild AE (16/33 vs. 3/19, p = 0.035). Interestingly, female patients had a significantly poorer quality of life than male patients as assessed by the DLQI score (7.28 ± 7 vs. 3.7 ± 3.6, p = 0.038).

Conclusion. Cutaneous side effects are often encountered in cancer patients and their severity can be a surrogate marker for a positive clinical tumor response to therapy.

Open access

Andrei Mihai Voiosu, Paul Bălănescu, Ioana Daha, Bianca Smarandache, Aurelia Rădoi, Radu Bogdan Mateescu, Cristian Răsvan Băicuş and Theodor Alexandru Voiosu


Background. We aimed to determine the relationship between endocan and cirrhotic cardiomyopathy.

Materials and methods. Patients with liver cirrhosis and no heart disease were included in a prospective observational study with liver disease decompensation and death as primary outcomes.

Results. 83 cirrhotic patients were included and 32 had cirrhotic cardiomyopathy. Endocan levels were significantly lower in patients with cirrhotic cardiomyopathy (5.6 vs. 7 ng/mL, p = 0.034). Endocan correlated with severity of cirrhosis, time to decompensation or death from liver disease (OR 4.5 95% CI 1.06-31.1).

Conclusion. Endocan is a promising biomarker of severity of cirrhosis and may help in the diagnosis of cardiac dysfunction in this population.