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Severe acute lower gastrointestinal bleeding: risk factors for morbidity and mortality

Severe acute lower gastrointestinal bleeding: risk factors for morbidity and mortality

Langenbeck's Archives of Surgery 392(2): 165-171

Many factors can cause morbidity and mortality in patients with severe acute lower gastrointestinal bleeding (LGIB). The objectives of this study are to analyze three aspects related to severe acute LGIB: (1) indications and prognostic factors for urgent surgery, (2) risk factors for morbidity and mortality, and (3) relapse rates. A retrospective cohort was collected between 1985 and 2002 in a tertiary referral center. One hundred seventy-one patients with severe acute LGIB were reviewed (LGIB is defined as frank rectal bleeding either with a hematocrit decrease >/=10 points or when a transfusion of at least three units of concentrated red blood cells is needed). The main outcome measures are: (1) indications for urgent surgery and results, (2) morbidity and mortality, and (3) relapse. There were 158 (92%) stable patients, and in 61% of these, the bleeding was identified via colonoscopy. Bleeding was identified using urgent colonoscopy in a higher percentage of patients compared to delayed colonoscopy (68% versus 14%; p < 0.001). Urgent surgery was indicated in 24 (14%) patients, and the approach was peri-anal in 5 (21%) patients and abdominal in the rest. Local intestinal resection was performed on the 15 patients in which bleeding was identified, whereas a subtotal colectomy was performed on the remaining 4 patients. The presence of hypotension (p = 0.001; 35 versus 10%) and etiology of LGIB (p < 0.001) are prognostic factors of urgent surgery. Morbidity was 6.4%, and mortality was 4.7%. The only morbidity or mortality risk factors detected were the presence of associated comorbidities (p = 0.008) and the need for urgent surgery (p = 0.002). The most frequent etiology was diverticulosis (25%). After a mean follow-up of 132 +/- 75 months, bleeding relapsed in 30% of patients. It is difficult to predict which patients are going to need urgent surgery in severe acute LGIB; only the presence of hypotension on arrival at the emergency ward would lead us to suspect a negative outcome for the hemorrhage. In severe acute LGIB, morbidity and mortality is high, and this is mainly due to the high level of associated comorbidity and the need for urgent surgery. It is necessary for strict hemodynamic monitoring of the patients at risk if we want to improve outcomes. The bleeding relapse rate is high in LGIB, although generally, it is not severe.

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Accession: 013014759

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 17131153

DOI: 10.1007/s00423-006-0117-6

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