Upper gastrointestinal bleeding in a Brazilian hospital: a retrospective study of endoscopic records

Cyrla Zaltman, Heitor Siffert Pereira de Souza, Maria Elizabeth C Castro, Maria de Fátima S Sobral, Paula Cristina P Dias, Vilson Lemos
Arquivos de Gastroenterologia 2002, 39 (2): 74-80

BACKGROUND: Upper gastrointestinal bleeding is a frequent and potentially severe complication of most digestive diseases of the upper gastrointestinal tract. Upper endoscopy has a crucial role in the diagnosis and treatment of upper gastrointestinal bleeding, however epidemiological studies are still limited in our country. Aims - To assess the clinical characteristics, endoscopic accuracy, treatment efficiency and clinical outcome of patients admitted to the endoscopic unit with upper gastrointestinal bleeding.

METHODS: A retrospective study of consecutive records from patients who underwent emergency endoscopy for upper gastrointestinal bleeding was performed during a period of 2 years.

RESULTS: Most patients were male 68.7%, with a mean age of 54.5 +/- 17.5 years. A bleeding site could be detected in 75.6% of the patients. Diagnostic accuracy was greater within the first 24 hours of the bleeding onset, and in the presence of hematemesis. Peptic ulcer was the main cause of upper gastrointestinal bleeding (35%). The prevalence of variceal bleeding (20.45%) indicates a high rate of underlying liver disease. Endoscopic treatment was performed in 23.86% of the patients. Permanent hemostasis was achieved in 86% of the patients at the first endoscopic intervention, and in 62.5% of the patients after rebleeding. Emergency surgery was seldom necessary. The average number of blood units was 1.44 +/- 1.99 per patient. The average length of hospital stay was 7.71 +/- 12.2 days. Rebleeding was reported in 9.1% of the patients. The overall mortality rate of 15.34% was significantly correlated with previous liver disease.

CONCLUSIONS: Diagnostic accuracy was related to the time interval between the bleeding episode and endoscopy, and to clinical presentation. Endoscopic therapy was an effective tool for selected patients. The resulting increased duration of hospitalization and higher mortality rate in the patients submitted to therapeutic endoscopy were attributed to a higher prevalence of variceal bleeding and underlying liver disease.

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