Clinical characteristics and outcome of patients with upper gastrointestinal bleeding at the emergency department of a tertiary hospital in Nigeria

  • A Rukewe
  • JA Otegbayo
  • A Fatiregun
Keywords: Upper gastrointestinal bleeding, Emergency department, Characteristics, Outcome


Background: Upper gastrointestinal bleeding is a potentially life threatening condition with multiple causes. There is scarcity of health data depicting the clinical characteristics of the condition in African countries. This study was designed to describe the demographic, clinical characteristics and outcome of the patients who presented to our Emergency Department.

Methods: The records of cohort of all patients admitted with upper gastrointestinal tract bleeding from 1 January 2011 to 31 December 2012 were retrospectively reviewed from admission to discharge or death.

Results: There were 169 patients with median age of 44.0 years (range 13-89); 25 (15.0%) of them were known peptic ulcer disease patients. Most (69.2%) of the patients were males. The most common presenting symptom was haematemesis (34.9%) followed by melaena (16.6%). There was a history of NSAIDs use in 16.8% and alcohol ingestion in 12%. Upper Gastrointestinal Endoscopy was performed in 6.8% cases. Twenty-three (13.6%) patients died. There was association between mortality and diastolic blood pressure; more deaths (1/7; 14.3%) occurred in those with diastolic blood pressure > 90mmHg compared with <90mmHg (5/70; 7.1%) (P = 0.002). There were more deaths among patients who did not receive blood transfusion (4/40; 10.0%) compared with those who had blood transfusion (2/37; 5.4%) (P=0.008).

Conclusions: The common presentations were haematemesis and melaena, mainly in middle aged men with mortality in one out of seven patients. The high mortality may be due to co-morbidities and poor support services.

Keywords: Upper gastrointestinal bleeding, Emergency department, Characteristics, Outcome


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eISSN: 1597-1627