Age of the patient is an important prognostic factor in patients with non-variceal upper gastrointestinal bleeding (UGIB). Despite that fact, current treatment algorithms do not differentiate UGIB management according to the patient's age.
To compare treatment outcomes in patients below and above 75 years of age, treated for UGIB with urgent endoscopy.
Material and methods
Prospective analysis of treatment outcomes in 295 patients with non-variceal UGIB divided into two age groups (group A < 75 years of age, group B > 75 years of age). Urgent endoscopy (up to 3 h since admission) was performed in 292 patients. The groups were compared in regards to the duration of symptoms, previous UGIB, presence of factors predisposing to UGIB (NSAIDs, peptic ulcer disease, liver cirrhosis, and previous gastrointestinal surgery), haemodynamic state and haemoglobin (Hb) levels on admission. We analysed the causes of UGIB, severity of UGIB on the Forrest scale, type of endoscopic bleeding control method, and co-morbidities with use of the Charlson Co-morbidity Index (CCI). Treatment outcomes were assessed in regard of mortality rate, UGIB-recurrence rate, duration of hospital stay, amount of transfused blood products and the requirement of intensive therapy unit (ITU) or other departments’ admissions. Patients were followed until their discharge home.
Mortality rate was 6.8% (group A vs. B: 3.5% vs. 18.7%; p = 0.001). Upper gastrointestinal bleeding recurrence was noted in 12.2% of patients (group A vs. B: 12.5% vs. 10.9%; p = 0.73). 2.4% of patients required surgery for UGIB (group A vs. B: 1.7% vs. 4.7%; p = 0.16). Patients in group B required ITU admission more frequently (group A vs. B: 1% vs. 4.7%; p < 0.01). The mean hospital stay (4.3 days) and the mean number of transfused packed red blood cells (PRBCs) (2.35 Units) did not differ between the groups. Patients in group B used NSAIDS much more frequently, more often had hypovolaemic shock and had a higher CCI score.
Urgent endoscopy is an important and broadly accepted method of treatment of UGIB. Despite strict adherence to the modern UGIB-treatment algorithms, mortality remains high in the elderly. Thus, these patients need particular attention. The presented study indicates that the standard management might not be sufficient in elderly patients.
Keywords: urgent endoscopy, gastrointestinal bleeding, elderly patients