Purpose: To determine the risk factors contributing to and etiologies of gastrointestinal bleeding in an elderly patient population seen by Southwest Gastroenterology (SWGA) providers. Methods: This study reviews charts of patients with GI bleeding from documented sources between 1/1999 and 3/2006. The cases are gathered retrospectively from the clinical records of SWGA, a 12-person private, single specialty gastroenterology group serving community hospitals. Etiology and risk factors for GI hemorrhages are recorded in an elderly population, defined as patients age 55 and older. Results: GI hemorrhages are identified in 105 patients. The majority (83, 79%) of hemorrhages are upper GI bleeds (UGIB) comparing to 22 (21%) lower GI bleeds (LGIB). In the UGIB group, the most common etiology of bleed is gastric ulcer (29%). We also found 72% of UGIB patients on prescribed anticoagulation medications, including anti-platelet agents or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). 20% of these patients are also positive for H. Pylori. Thirty patients in the UGIB group smoke or consume alcohol heavily (consuming more than 3 drinks per day for men and two drinks per day for women) while 2 patients smoke or consume alcohol in the LGIB group. Previous bleeds are common in both groups with 39 (41%) in UGIB and 9 (47%) in LGIB. Co-morbidity is the most common risk factor with 20 (91%) in LGIB and 73 (88%) in UGIB. In the peptic ulcer disease (PUD) bleeds, the majority (77%) are taking NSAIDs, while in the non-PUD bleeds, only 38% are currently on NSAIDs. Overall, there are 2 mortalities resulting from cardiovascular complications of GI bleeding. Conclusion: The etiologies of GI bleeds in this population are comparable to other studies in the literature. The ratio of UGIB to LGIB in this elderly population is also similar to that reported in the literature. The risk factors shown to be most correlated to bleeding are co-morbidities, previous episodes of bleeding, anticoagulation, NSAID use, smoking and alcohol use. NSAID use is significant in PUD bleed patients. This study reinforces that increased knowledge of etiology, incidence and contributing factors of GI bleeding are necessary for physicians to efficiently treat GI bleeds in the elderly population.
Mojtahed, K; R Hartley; N Mojtahed; R M. Lynn; J A. Alcorn; J E. Martinez; J A. Burdon; J R. Bettinger; G M. Adams; A C. Mason; A Jakiche; C Burmeister; L K. Monagle; B J. Skipper; and H K. Gogel. "GI Bleeding in the Elderly." (2008). http://digitalrepository.unm.edu/ume-research-papers/24