Accuracy of CT angiography in the diagnosis of acute gastrointestinal bleeding: Systematic review and meta-analysis

V. García-Blázquez, A. Vicente-Bártulos, A. Olavarria-Delgado, M.N. Plana, D. Van Der Winden, J. Zamora

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To assess the diagnostic accuracy of computed tomography (CT) angiography in the evaluation of patients with an episode of acute gastrointestinal haemorrhage.

Systematic review and meta-analysis to estimate pooled accuracy indices. A bivariate random effects model was adjusted to obtain a summary receiver-operating characteristic (sROC) curve and the corresponding area under the curve (AUC).

Twenty-two studies were included and provided data on 672 patients (range of age 5–74) with a mean age of 65 years. The overall sensitivity of CT angiography for detecting active acute GI haemorrhage was 85.2 % (95 % CI 75.5 % to 91.5 %). The overall specificity of CT angiography was 92.1 % (95 % CI 76.7 % to 97.7 %). The likelihood ratios for positive and negative test results were 10.8 (95 % CI 3.4 to 34.4) and 0.16 (95 % CI 0.1 to 0.27) respectively, with an AUC of 0.935 (95 % CI 0.693 to 0.989). The sources of heterogeneity explored had no significant impact on diagnostic performance.

CT shows high diagnostic accuracy and is an excellent diagnostic tool for detection and localising of intestinal bleeding sites. It is highly available, provides fast detection and localisation of the bleeding site, and is minimally invasive.

Key Points
• CT angiography is increasingly used for investigating severe gastrointestinal bleeding.

• This systematic review and meta-analysis updates previous ones.

• In patients with massive gastrointestinal bleeding, CT angiography/MDCT detects bleeding accurately.

• CT angiography is useful in locating the bleeding site and determining appropriate treatment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1181-1190
JournalEuropean Radiology
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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