Urgent endoscopy is associated with lower mortality in high-risk patients with acute nonvariceal GI bleeding


Clinical question: Is urgent endoscopy (less than 6 hours after ED presentation) better than elective endoscopy (6-48 hours after presentation) to decrease mortality and rebleeding in high-risk patients with acute nonvariceal upper GI bleeding (ANVGIB)?

Background: High-risk ANVGIB patients (Glasgow-Blatchford score greater than 7) are recommended to undergo early endoscopy, within 24 hours of presentation. The impact of urgent endoscopy (less than 6 hours) on patient outcomes is not clear.

Study design: Retrospective observation study.

Setting: Single tertiary referral center in South Korea.

Synopsis: Investigators retrospectively reviewed 961 high-risk ANVGIB patients, 571 patients underwent urgent endoscopy and 390 patients had elective endoscopy (6-48 hours), to compare clinical features and outcomes. The urgent group was slightly older, had a higher Rockall score, lower blood pressure, and higher incidence of shock on admission.
Urgent endoscopy was associated with significantly lower 28-day mortality (1.6% vs 3.8%). Urgent endoscopy also was associated with higher packed red blood cell transfusion volume (2.6 U vs. 2.3 U) and greater need for endoscopic intervention (69.5% vs. 53.5%) and embolization (2.8% vs. 0.5%). There was no significant difference in rebleeding rates, need for ICU admission, vasopressor use, and length of hospital stay between the urgent and elective endoscopy groups. The authors conclude that urgent endoscopy was associated with lower mortality rate but not rebleeding in high-risk patients with ANVGIB.
Despite differences between these two groups, based on this retrospective data, it is reasonable to suggest that urgent endoscopy may be beneficial for reducing mortality in high-risk patients with ANVGIB.

Bottom line: Urgent endoscopy may be beneficial in reducing mortality in high-risk patients with acute nonvariceal gastrointestinal bleeding.

Citation: Cho SH et al. Outcomes and role of urgent endoscopy in high-risk patients with acute nonvariceal gastrointestinal bleeding. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2017 Jun 19. pii: S1542-3565(17)30736-X.

Dr. Patel is a hospitalist and an assistant professor of medicine, Duke University Health System.

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