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Gastrointestinal Bleeding

Gastrointestinal Bleeding

Gastrointestinal bleeding, or GI bleeding, is a condition where blood is lost from any part of the digestive system, spanning from the mouth to the anus. It manifests in different ways, such as fresh red or coffee-colored blood in the mouth or noticeable changes in stool color (which can range from red to maroon or black).

I. Common Causes Of GI Bleed

Upper GI Bleed:

1. Esophageal Source: This can include issues like Mallory Weiss tear, esophageal varices, esophagitis, ulcers, or even esophageal cancer.

2. Gastric Source: Conditions like gastric ulcers, gastritis, or even gastric cancer fall into this category.

3. Duodenal Source: Here, causes may involve duodenal ulcers, tumors, or other related issues.

Lower GI Bleed:

1. Anal Canal Sources: Conditions like hemorrhoids or fissures can cause bright red blood.

2. Colonic Source: Ulcers, polyps, cancer, angiodysplasia, and diverticular bleed are potential culprits.

3. Small Intestinal Source: Issues like angiodysplasias, telangiectasias, tumors, Meckel’s diverticulum, and ulcerations may lead to bleeding.

II. Managing GI Bleed

The approach to managing GI bleeding depends on the severity and source of the bleed. Patients experiencing significant bleeding should be admitted and receive resuscitation through blood and plasma expander infusions. Chronic, lower-volume bleeds can be investigated on an outpatient basis.

III. Diagnosis

1. Initial investigations include upper GI endoscopy and colonoscopy.

2. If inconclusive, further investigations such as CT enterography, CT angiography, capsule endoscopy, and double-balloon enteroscopy may be conducted.

IV. Treatment

Treatment varies based on the cause and may involve ligation for esophageal varices, application of clips and argon plasma coagulation (APC) for ulcers and vascular lesions, or surgery for malignancies.

Understanding the cause is crucial for determining the most effective treatment. For instance, esophageal varices may require ligation, while ulcers and vascular lesions may be treated with clips and APC. Malignancies might necessitate surgical intervention.

The management of GI bleeding is a tailored approach, considering both the magnitude and source of the bleed. For those facing significant bleeding, prompt admission and resuscitation are key, while outpatient investigations suit those with chronic, lesser bleeds. By unraveling the mystery behind GI bleeding, healthcare providers can offer targeted and effective treatments for patients, ensuring a path to recovery.


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