Background A total of 30 000 people are treated with pelvic radiotherapy annually in the UK. Rectal bleeding is common following pelvic radiotherapy and one of the main causes is radiation proctopathy (RP). Six per cent develop severe bleeding from RP, leading to anaemia requiring iron +/− blood transfusion. There are very few safe, effective, evidence-based treatments. Purastat is a haemostatic agent licensed for gastrointestinal bleeding. It is a self-assembling peptide that forms a molecular mesh in contact with blood, thereby sealing blood vessels. There are numerous studies showing its efficacy and safety in various surgical/endoscopic settings. This service evaluation reports the first experience of the use of Purastat in RP.
Methods Consecutive patients attending pelvic radiation disease clinic with severe refractory RP were offered treatment with Purastat. This was defined as rectal bleeding into the pan±anaemia with no response to rectal sucralfate. Purastat was applied endoscopically at four weekly intervals up to three times, with more as required. Bleeding severity, endoscopic grade and haemoglobin were recorded.
Results Twenty-one patients were treated (18 men, median age 76 years) with a median of three treatments. Ten were on antithrombotics, 1 had thrombocytopenia and 13 had anaemia at baseline. Median episodes of bleeding reduced from 4.5 (0–27) to 2 (0–16) in the 7 days prior to the first and third treatment, respectively. Endoscopic grade was improved. Mean haemoglobin increased from 116.0 to 122.7. There were no complications.
Conclusion Even in this cohort of severe refractory RP, there was an improvement in bleeding and endoscopic grade with Purastat. A randomised controlled trial is planned.
- radiation enteritis
- anorectal disorders
- gastrointestinal bleeding
Data availability statement
Data are available upon reasonable request. All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplementary information. All relevant data are included in the paper.
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