Endoscopic image of a upper gastrointestinal bleeding pdf wall duodenal ulcer with a clean base, which is a common cause of upper GI hemorrhage. Upper gastrointestinal bleeding is gastrointestinal bleeding in the upper gastrointestinal tract, commonly defined as bleeding arising from the esophagus, stomach, or duodenum.
Depending on the severity of the blood loss, there may be symptoms of insufficient circulating blood volume and shock. As a result, upper gastrointestinal bleeding is considered a medical emergency and typically requires hospital care for urgent diagnosis and treatment. Upper gastrointestinal bleeding can be caused by peptic ulcers, gastric erosions, esophageal varices, and some rarer causes such as gastric cancer. The initial assessment includes measurement of the blood pressure and heart rate, as well as blood tests to determine hemoglobin concentration.
In significant bleeding, fluid replacement is often required, as well as blood transfusion, before the source of bleeding can be determined by endoscopy of the upper digestive tract with an esophagogastroduodenoscopy. Depending on the source, endoscopic therapy can be applied to reduce rebleeding risk.
Recurrent or refractory bleeding may lead to need for surgery, although this has become uncommon as a result of improved endoscopic and medical treatment. Upper gastrointestinal bleeding affects around 50-150 people per 100,000 annually. The presentation of bleeding depends on the amount and location of hemorrhage. A person with an upper GI hemorrhage may also present with complications of anemia, including chest pain, syncope, fatigue and shortness of breath.