All bleeding stops

Although the title is technically true, there are preferred ways to stop GI bleeding (Clinical Gastroenterol & Hepatol 2012; 10: 234-39).  This article summarizes the approach for nonvariceal upper GI bleeding.


  • Endoscopy within 24 hours following ABCs/adequate resuscitation.  Use of a promotility agent prior to endoscopy may be helpful (in pediatric patients: erythromycin ~3 mg/kg)
  • Correct coagulopathy but do not delay endoscopy.
  • Consider nasogastric tube placement.
  • Do not use somatostatin or octreotide.
  • High-risk endoscopic stigmata should receive endoscopic hemostasis.  These lesions include actively spurting, oozing blood, nonbleeding visible vessel, and an adherent clot.
  • Pigmented dots or clean base ulcers do not require endoscopic hemostasis.
  • Endoscopic management includes clips, thermocoagulation, or sclerosant injection alone or in combination with epinephrine injection.  Epinephrine alone is not recommended for high risk lesions.
  • If a clot is found, attempts to remove it should be made to visualize underlying lesion.  If clot is adherent, intensive IV PPI therapy may be sufficient.  A typical dose would be esomeprazole 80mg bolus (for an adult) followed by 8 mg/hour for 72 hours.
  • Stable patients can be fed within 24 hours.
• IV PPI dose: 1mg/kg bolus followed by 0.1mg/kg/hr infusion.

Additional references:

  • -Ann Intern Med 2010; 152: 101-113. Consensus recommendations on UGI bleeding. Early endoscopy (<24hrs), data support attempts to dislodge clots, consider clips or thermocoagulation for Rx. Preendosocpy PPI can be helpful.
  • -Clin Gastro & Hep 2010; 8: 651. Article suggests second look only if difficult visualization on initial endoscopy (eg unable to remove clot).
  • -Ann Intern Med 2010; 152: 101-13. Systematic review of on UGI bleeding. Use IV PPI bolus, then continuous PPI if high risk stigmata after endoscopic Rx. Hospitalize for at least 72hrs.
  • -Gastroenterology 2010; 138: 1252. Review of upper GI bleeding.
  • -Clin Gastro & Hep 2009; 7: 828. Review of recurrent GI bleeding with negative initial evaluation.
  • -Gastroenterology 2008; 134: 1836. Frequent high dose oral PPI also effective with bleeding ulcers: prevacid 120mg x1, then 30mg q3hrs compared favorably with 90mg IV followed by 9mg/hr. n=66. intragastric pH >6 for 68% of study in IV PPI vs. 65% in oral PPI. 1st hour -more rapid onset with IV PPI.
  • -Gastroenterology 2007; 133: 1694. Position statement & review on obscure bleeding.
  • -Ann Intern Med 2003; 139: 843-857. Consensus on nonvariceal bleeding. Rec: lansoprazole 90mg bolus, then 6mg/hr x 72hrs or pantoprazole 80mg then 8mg/hr in high risk lesions
  • -Clin Gastro & Hep 2006; 4: 1459. Trends in non-variceal bleeding between 1993-2003 do NOT show improved outcomes with PPI. Overall mortality fairly steady @3.5%
  • -Clin Gastro & Hep 2005; 3: 959. WCE should be 2nd step in obscure bleed, p egd/col.
  • -NEJM 2004; 351: 488. case review.
  • -Gastroenterology 2002; 123: 17-23. IV erythromycin, 20 minutes before endoscopy, helped clear stomach (82% clear vs. 33% c placebo). Adults in this study received 250 mg. (thus, children probably need 3-4 mg/kg)
  • -Gastro Endosc 2002; 56: 174. erythromycin helpful-3mg/kg IV over 30 min
  • -Gastroenterology 2002; 123: 407-13. Endoscopic Rx of adherent clots c PUDz helpful (epinephrine injection, cold guillotining of clot, then coagulation cautery); Editorial on 632-635 emphasizes vigourous washing BUT NOT to remove adherent clot unless in centers with low rebleeding rates. Additionally, PPIs very helpful in preventing rebleeding in this situation (NEJM 1997; 336: 1054-8).
  • -NEJM 1999; 341: 38. Occult bleeding
  • -Gastroenterology 2000; 118: 197. AGA position statement.
  • -Gastro Endosc 2001; 53: 853 & 859. ASGE guidelines/algorithm for upper & lower GI bleeding