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Original Article Efficacy of the Over-the-Scope Clip System for Treatment of Gastrointestinal Fistulas, Leaks, and Perforations: A Korean Multi-Center Study
Hang Lak Lee1, Joo Young Cho2, Jun-Hyung Cho3,, Jong Jae Park4, Chan Gyoo Kim5, Seong Hwan Kim6, Joung-Ho Han7
Clinical Endoscopy 2018;51(1):61-65.
Published online: August 29, 2017

1Department of Internal Medicine, Hanyang University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea

2Digestive Disease Center, CHA Bundang Medical Center, CHA University, Seongnam, Korea

3Digestive Disease Center, Soonchunhyang University Hospital, Seoul, Korea

4Department of Internal Medicine, Korea University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea

5Center for Gastric Cancer, Research Institute and Hospital, National Cancer Center, Goyang, Korea

6Department of Gastroenterology, Eulji University School of Medicine, Eulji Hospital, Seoul, Korea

7Department of Internal Medicine, Chungbuk National University Hospital, Chungbuk National University College of Medicine, Cheongju, Korea

Correspondence: Joo Young Cho Department of Internal Medicine, Digestive Disease Center, Cha Bundang Medical Center, CHA University, 59 Yatop-ro, Bundang-gu, Seongnam 13496, Korea Tel: +82-31-780-5005, Fax: +82-31-780-5219 , E-mail:
• Received: February 1, 2017   • Revised: June 15, 2017   • Accepted: June 15, 2017

Copyright © 2018 Korean Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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  • Background/Aims
    Currently, a new over-the-scope clip (OTSC) system has been introduced. This system has been used for gastrointestinal perforations and fistulas in other countries. The aim of our study is to examine the therapeutic success rate of endoscopic treatment using the OTSC system in Korea.
  • Methods
    This was a multicenter prospective study. A total of seven endoscopists at seven centers performed this procedure.
  • Results
    A total of 19 patients were included, with gastrointestinal leakages from anastomosis sites, fistulas, or esophageal perforations due to Boerhaave’s syndrome. Among these, there were three gastrojejunostomy sites, three esophagojejunostomy sites, four esophagogastrostomy sites, one esophagocolonostomy site, one jejuno-jejunal site, two endoscopic full thickness resection site closures, one Boerhaave’s syndrome, two esophago-bronchial fistulas, one gastrocolonic fistula, and one colonopseudocyst fistula. The size of the leakage ranged from 5 to 30 mm. The median procedure time was 16 min. All cases were technically successful. Complete closure of the leak was achieved in 14 of 19 patients using OTSC alone.
  • Conclusions
    The OTSC system is a safe and effective method for the management of gastrointestinal leakage, especially in cases of anastomotic leakage after surgery.
Until now, surgical management has been the mainstay of therapy for gastrointestinal perforation, fistulas, and anastomotic leakages [1]. Endoscopic treatment has also been used with various devices, such as through the scope clips (TTS clips), histoacryl glue, endoloops, and covered metal stents [2-5]. However, the success rate of such procedures was highly variable, and additional surgical management is sometimes required. Currently, an over-the-scope clip called OTSC (Ovesco Endoscopy, Tuebingen, Germany) has been developed. Thus far, clinical data have supported the effectiveness of OTSC in the management of gastrointestinal bleeding and perforation [5].
The purpose of our study was to report our multicenter experience with OTSCs for the management of gastrointestinal perforations, fistulas, and anastomotic leakages, and to examine the overall success rate and complication rate in Korean patients.
This study was approved by the institutional review board for human research at each hospital. This was a multicenter prospective study in Korea. A total of seven endoscopy experts at seven academic centers performed the OTSC procedure. All patients were given intravenous midazolam and pethidine before the procedure. All procedures were performed as follows: after attachment of the system to the tip of the endoscope, close contact was made with the target lesion, the area was fully sucked, and the OTSC clip was deployed. The OTSC system was installed onto the tip of an upper gastroscope.
The OTSC consists of a shape-memory nitinol alloy, which returns to its initial shape when it is released from the applicator, allowing for closure of the clip. The clip is deployed by stretching a wire with a hand wheel fixed on the working channel. To facilitate targeting of the lesion, we used endoscopic suction, a twin grasper, and alligator, based on individual case requirement.
The gastrointestinal defects studied included anastomosis leakage, fistulas, and perforations. An anastomosis leakage was defined as tissue breakdown at the anastomotic site resulting in a fluid collection with or without evidence of extravasation of contrast on radiologic study [6]. A fistula was defined as abnormal communication between two epithelialized surfaces [7]. Perforation was defined as a full-thickness defect in the gastrointestinal tract. Technical success was defined as successful deployment of an OTSC at the intended site as determined endoscopically and/or radiographically. Clinical success was defined as the resolution of the gastrointestinal defect attributed to OTSC at the time of follow up as evidenced by clinical, endoscopic, and/or abdominal imaging, with a minimum of 2 weeks of follow-up.
This study included a total of 19 patients (median age 56 years, range 25–77 years, 14 men) with gastrointestinal leaks from anastomosis sites, fistulas, or esophageal perforations due to Boerhaave’s syndrome. Among these, there were three cases involving gastrojejunostomy sites, three esophagojejunostomy sites, four esophagogastrostomy sites, one esophagocolonostomy site, one jejuno-jejunal site, two endoscopic full thickness resection site closure, one Boerhaave’s syndrome, two esophago-bronchial fistulas, one gastrocolonic fistula, and one colonopseudocyst fistula. The size of the leakage ranged from 5 to 30 mm (median diameter 10 mm). The median procedure time was 16 min. All patients were nil per os (NPO) after midnight prior to the procedure. All cases were technically successful. Complete healing of the leakage was achieved in 14 of 19 patients (74%) using OTSC alone. In one patient in which OTSC failed, closure was achieved by placing an additional covered metal stent. Three fistula cases required surgical intervention. One anastomotic leakage case required surgical repair (Table 1). When we divided patients into two categories (perforations and leakages versus fistulas), overall, the rate of successful closure in perforations and leakages was significantly higher than that of fistulas (87% vs. 25%, p=0.025). There were no complications associated with the OTSC procedures. Mean follow-up period after OTSC was 502 days. Fig. 1 showed a successful OTSC procedure in case of anastomotic leakage after subtotal gastrectomy due to stomach cancer.
With improvements in various therapeutic endoscopy techniques and more technically difficult surgical procedures, both endoscopists and surgeons are more frequently encountering serious complications such as gastrointestinal perforation, fistulas, and anastomotic leakages. Non-surgical management of gastrointestinal perforations and post-operative fistulas has been attempted endoscopically using various devices such as endoclip, histoacryl glue, endoloop, and covered metal stents. These procedures have proven utility in some clinical cases. However, the success rate of such procedures is highly variable, and additional surgical management is sometimes required [8-12].
Recently, a new system, OTSC, was developed, which was designed to create full-thickness closure by using an OTSC made of a super-elastic, shape-memory alloy (nitinol), which takes its former unbent shape after the clip is released. The OTSC clip has been successfully used for the primary non-surgical closure of gastrointestinal tract perforations and fistulas [5,6,13]. This system is easy to handle, and no meaningful complications have been reported to date. In our study, there was no meaningful complication related to the OTSC procedure. However, complete jejunal closure cases secondary to clip misplacement have been reported [13].
Until now, there have been no large studies that examined the effectiveness of OTSC clips in Asia. We experienced a total of 19 cases that were treated with OTSC. The technical success rate of the OTSC procedure was 100%. Overall long term clinical success was achieved in 74% of patients in our study. The present study shows that the OTSC system can be more effective in cases of perforation or leakage than in cases of chronic fistula. In cases of chronic fistula, the closure rate by OTSC was approximately 40%. The reason for low clinical success in the treatment of fistula is possibly due to the lesions’ fibrotic edges, according to many previous studies [14,15].
We suggest that, in case of OTSC failure, an additional covered metal stent can be used as salvage therapy. A previous report suggests that the duration of the defect is important in predicting clinical success of OTSC [5]. The chance of spontaneous closure of perforations or leakages is very low, and surgical management of such complications is often difficult; morbidity and mortality may be as high as 5%–30% in emergency situations. Therefore, it is important to perform OTSC without hesitation.
Gastric cancer is one of the most common cancers in Korea, and every year approximately 20,000 gastric surgeries are performed. As a result, postoperative leakage is not uncommon. OTSC was effective for use in cases of anastomotic leakage after gastrectomy in our study. In case of anastomotic dehiscence with abscess, abscess drainage may be needed before the OTSC procedure.
The major limitation of our study is the small study population. In addition, all procedures were performed by experienced endoscopists at seven sites, which may have introduced heterogeneity. However, this study has several notable strengths, as it is to our knowledge the first multicenter study of its kind in Asia. In addition, the results of our study are similar to those reported in previous Western studies. In Korea, the OTSC system is not covered by national insurance as a new medical technology; therefore, there are many limitations to its use. In the future, the OTSC system should be included in the Korea medical insurance program.
In conclusion, OTSC is effective therapy for closure of gastrointestinal defects in Korean patients and appears to be a relatively safe procedure. In the future, the indications for OTSC may include natural orifice transluminal endoscopic surgery (NOTES) entry closure, resection of small subepithelial lesions, and prevention of perforation following endoscopic resection involving the muscularis propria.

Conflicts of Interest: The authors have no financial conflicts of interest.

This study was supported by a 2014 DONG-A ST grant from the Korean Gastrointestinal Endoscopy Research Foundation.
Fig. 1.
One case of over-the-scope clip (OTSC) procedure. (A, B) About 1 cm sized anastomotic leakage was noted. (C, D) One OTSC placed at the leakage site. (E, F) Endoscopic finding after six months. Only scar lesion was noted.
Table 1.
Characteristics of Patients and Outcome
Case No. Age/Sex Location Indication Reason for operation Duration of GI defect (day) Size Procedure time (min) F/U (day) Complications Technical success Final success Use of tissue anchor
1 64/M Gastrojejunostomy site Anastomotic leakage Stomach cancer 3 10 13 425 none Yes Yes Suction
2 77/F Gastrojejunostomy site Anastomotic leakage Stomach cancer 4 12 14 418 none Yes Yes Suction
3 69/M Esophagojejunostomy site Anastomotic leakage Stomach cancer 3 3 15 478 none Yes Yes Suction
4 70/M Upper esophagus Esophago-bronchial fistula Esophageal cancer 15 8 10 none Yes No Suction
5 60/M Esophagojejunostomy site Anastomotic leakage Stomach cancer 5 3 12 598 none Yes Yes Suction
6 49/F Esophagogastrostomy site Anastomotic leakage Bariatric surgery 4 5 15 none Yes No Twin grasper
7 52/M Lower esophagus Boerhaave syndrome Boerhaave syndrome 8 8 18 380 none Yes Yes Twin grasper
8 49/F Mid esophagus Esophago-bronchial fistula Pulmonary tuberculosis 30 5 15 none Yes No Aligator
9 68/M Gastrojejunostomy site Anastomotic leakage Stomach cancer 2 8 14 420 none Yes Yes Suction
10 75/F Esophagojejunostomy site Anastomotic leakage Stomach cancer 2 7 16 440 none Yes Yes Suction
11 47/M Esophagogastrostomy site Anastomotic leakage Bariatric surgery 4 10 15 840 none Yes Yes Twin grasper
12 32/F Esophagogastrostomy site Anastomotic leakage Bariatric surgery 3 10 20 750 none Yes Yes Twin grasper
13 56/M Transverse colon Colonopseudocyst fistula Acute pancreatitis 35 12 30 600 none Yes Yes Twin grasper
14 50/M Stomach angle Endoscopic full thickness resection Stomach cancer 3 30 20 570 none Yes Yes Twin grasper
15 57/M Stomach cardia Endoscopic full thickness resection GIST 3 10 10 700 none Yes Yes Twin grasper
16 48/M Jejunojejunostomy site Anastomotic leakage Small bowel necrosis 53 10 10 330 none Yes Yes Suction
17 41/M Gastrojejunostomy site Gastrocolonic fistula Gastric ulcer 20 20 30 none Yes No Twin grasper
18 25/M Esophagocolonostomy site Anastomotic leakage Necrotizing esophagitis 63 6 10 none Yes No Suction
19 71/M Esophagogastrostomy site Anastomotic leakage Esophageal cancer 5 5 15 90 none Yes Yes Suction

GI, gastrointestinal; F/U, follow up; GIST, gastrointestinal stromal tumor.

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      Efficacy of the Over-the-Scope Clip System for Treatment of Gastrointestinal Fistulas, Leaks, and Perforations: A Korean Multi-Center Study
      Clin Endosc. 2018;51(1):61-65.   Published online August 29, 2017
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