, Volume 37, Issue 4, pp 365-372
Date: 09 Jun 2011

Surgical management of lower gastrointestinal bleeding

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Abstract

Purpose

Lower gastrointestinal bleeding (LGIB) is any form of bleeding distal to the Ligament of Treitz. In most cases, acute LGIB is self-limited and resolves spontaneously with conservative management.

Methods

Only a minority of approximately 10% is admitted to hospital with signs of massive bleeding and shock requiring resuscitation, urgent evaluation and treatment.

Results

Over the past decade, there has been a progressive decrease in upper GI events and a significant increase in lower GI events. Overall, mortality has also decreased, but in-hospital fatality due to upper or lower GI complications have remained constant. The problem is that LGIB can arise from a number of sources and may be a significant cause of hospitalisation and mortality in elderly patients.

Conclusions

After initial resuscitation, the diagnosis and treatment of LGIB remains a challenge for acute care surgeons, whereby the identification of the source of bleeding is of utmost importance.