Prevalence, short term outcome and factors associated with survival in patients suffering from upper gastrointestinal bleeding in a resource limited-setting, the case of Mulago hospital in Kampala, Uganda

  • Serge Kahatwa Kiringa
  • Jacklyn Quinlan
  • Ponciano Ocama
  • Innocent Mutyaba
  • Magid Kagimu
Keywords: Upper gastrointestinal bleeding; gastroenterology; survival; Uganda; Africa.


Background: Upper gastrointestinal bleeding (UGIB) is a common cause of admission and death in the gastroenterology service. The prevalence, risk factors and the case fatality rate of UGIB may differ by settings.

Objectives: Our objective was to determine the prevalence of symptoms and the case fatality rate of UGIB among patients at the gastroenterology service of Mulago Hospital in Kampala, Uganda and to describe the clinical and laboratory risk fac- tors associated with the survival of these patients.

Methods: In a cross-sectional study performed between September 2013 and April 2014, patients were screened for UGIB symptoms. Data was collected on socio-demographic characteristics, clinical presentation and patient’s outcome within one week of admission. Bivariate, multivariate, and survival analysis were performed to identify variables that were significantly associated with mortality.

Results: Out of 1085 patients screened, we identified the prevalence of UGIB symptoms in 220 patients (20.3%). Among these, 150 met the inclusion criteria for our study. The majority were males (70.7%) and 40 years of age or less (60%). The most prevalent clinical diagnosis were gastritis (39.3%), esophageal varices (17.3%) and peptic ulcer disease (PUD) (16%). Among patients who underwent endoscopy, esophageal varices (42.2%), PUD (26.3%) and gastritis (15.8%) were the lead- ing causes of bleeding. The overall case fatality rate was 16.7% (25/150). Uremia remained associated with mortality after controlling for confounders. Survival was significantly reduced for males as well as for patients with uremia and malignancy.

Conclusion: the prevalence of symptoms and the case fatality rate of UGIB among patients admitted to the gastroenter- ology ward in Mulago hospital were higher than in developed countries and similar to other resource-limited setting. The majority of patients were young men and presented with both hematemesis and melena. The most common causes of UGIB were esophageal varices, gastritis and PUD. Survival analysis indicate that male gender, uremia, and malignancy are associated with reduced survival.

Keyword: Upper gastrointestinal bleeding; gastroenterology; survival; Uganda; Africa. 


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eISSN: 1680-6905