The characteristics of adults with upper gastrointestinal bleeding admitted to Tripoli Medical Center: a retrospective case-series analysis
Background: Acute upper gastrointestinal bleeding (UGIB) is a common reason for hospital admissions worldwide. Aetiological causes of UGIB vary according to geographic region and socioeconomic status. However, despite the implementation of early endoscopy as the standard method for the diagnosis and treatment of UGIB, data on the characteristics of patients with UGIB in Libya are still minimal. In this study, we describe patient demographics, aetiological causes for UGIB, and possible risk factors for upper gastrointestinal bleeding in patients admitted to the Gastroenterology Department at Tripoli Medical Center from January 2001 through June 2006. Method: This is a retrospective case-series analysis of all adult patients with upper gastrointestinal bleeding admitted to the Gastroenterology Department at TMC. Patients’ medical records were individually reviewed and relevant data abstracted. Results: A total of 928 cases with diagnoses of UGIB were admitted to Tripoli Medical Center during the study period. Of these cases, 60.3% were males and 39.7% females (3:2) and males were significantly younger than females (49.6 years vs. 53.9 years, p=0.001). The most common cause of UGIB was peptic ulcer (37.1%) of which duodenal ulcer was the most common (30.7% of all UGIB), especially amongst male patients (36.4%). The second most common cause was bleeding due to varices (29.8%), especially amongst females (35.1%). Additionally, smoking and NSAIDs use were reported by 18.6% and 9.7% of cases and both were significantly associated with bleeding due to peptic ulcers. Conclusion: This study has investigated the characteristics of adults with UGIB at a tertiary referral center in Libya. The high frequency of bleeding due to varices amongst females mandates further investigations into the possible underlying hepatic causes and their management, and the potential impact on patient outcome and prognosis.
Keywords: bleeding; UGIB; gastroenterology; Libya