Introduction: Advanced endoscopic techniques provide novel therapies for complications historically treated with surgical interventions. Over-the-scope clips (OTSCs) have recently been shown to be effective at endoscopic closure of gastrointestinal (GI) defects. We hypothesize that by following classic surgical principles of fistula management, a high rate of long-term success can be achieved with endoscopic closure of non-acute GI tract defects. Methods: A retrospective review of a single-institution prospectively maintained database (2012–2015) of all patients referred for the management of GI leaks or fistulae who underwent attempted closure with the OTSC system (Ovesco, Germany) was performed. Acute perforations were excluded. The primary endpoint was long-term success defined by the absence of radiographic or clinical evidence of leak or fistula during follow-up. Patients were stratified by success or failure of OTSC closure and compared with Fisher’s exact and Mann–Whitney U tests. Results: We identified 22 patients with 28 defects (22 fistulae and 6 leaks). Most patients were female (59 %) with a mean age of 54 years (±14), median BMI of 29, and prior bariatric procedure (55 %). Comorbidities included smoking history (68 %) and diabetes (23 %). The majority of defects were solitary (64 %), involved the upper GI tract (82 %), and had been present for >30 days (50 %). Multiple therapeutic interventions were necessary in 46 % of defects. There were no adverse outcomes related to OTSC placement or misfiring. Endoscopic adjuncts were used in 61 % of cases. Overall success rate was 82 % (100 % for leaks and 76 % for fistulae) at a median follow-up of 4.7 months (IQR 2.1–8.4 months). Predictors of success and failure could not be distinguished due to limited sample size. Conclusions: Over-the-scope clips can be safely and effectively used in patients presenting with GI leaks and fistulae. Further research is required to characterize the determinants of long-term success and risk factors for failure.
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