Upper GI Bleeding
A Condition of the Gastrointestinal TractUpper GI bleeding is a serious condition that can affect the superior part of the gastrointestinal tract, including the esophagus, the stomach or the upper small intestine which is referred to as the duodenum. Patients who turn to miVIP Surgery Centers with concerns about possible GI issues may need an EGD procedure, also called an esophagogastroduodenoscopy. This allows a physician to take a direct look at the upper GI tract to see if any issues are prevalent.
Understanding how to diagnose and treat upper GI bleeding can greatly enhance quality of life for those who have been suffering with uncomfortable, painful and often life-threatening symptoms.
How Common Is Upper GI Bleeding?Bleeding in the upper gastrointestinal tract is four times more likely than bleeding in the lower GI tract. In a large majority of cases, the bleeding is a result of a peptic ulcer, which will occur in 1 out of every 10 people during their lifetime.
Causes and Risk FactorsCommon causes of upper GI bleeding include:
- Peptic Ulcer Disease
- Esophageal Varices
- Mallory-Weiss Tear
Signs of Gastrointestinal BleedingUnderstanding the signs of upper gastrointestinal bleeding is important so that you can get proper treatment. The issue is presented differently in each person but is most commonly associated with vomiting blood and passing blood in stools.
It is important to understand that excessive loss of blood can be dangerous. Even a slow bleed can cause life-threatening problems if not treated promptly and appropriately. Signs of blood loss include:
- Shortness of breath
- Pale skin
- Abdominal pain
How to Treat GI BleedsAn endoscopy is another name for the esophagogastroduodenoscopy. While a miVIP doctor performs the procedure, they can both diagnose the issue and, in some cases, treat it immediately via one of the following methods:
- Injections – Injecting chemicals directly into the bleed site may stop the bleeding.
- Cauterization – Cauterizing, or heat treating, the wound is effective in many patients. A heater probe can be taken to the bleed cite as well as surrounding lining.
- Clip – In many cases, a clip must be placed on the bleed to stop it.
- Surgery – Sometimes accessing the area via scope isn’t enough to stop the bleeding. In severe instances, a doctor will have to perform surgery and remove a section of the stomach or ulcerated area.
GI Bleeding PrognosisIf not properly treated, upper GI bleeding can result in low blood pressure, severe anemia and even death. Those over the age of 60 may not have positive outcomes following upper gastrointestinal bleeding treatments. Other risk factors that may lead to recurrent bleeding, surgery or increased mortality rates:
- Transfusion of red blood cells
- Extreme coagulopathy