The Indian Journal of Pediatrics

, Volume 69, Issue 2, pp 155–168

Upper gastrointestinal bleeding: Etiology and management

  • N K Arora
  • S. Ganguly
  • P. Mathur
  • A. Ahuja
  • A. Patwari
Symposium on Hepatology-II


Upper gastrointestinal bleeding is a potentially fatal condition at times due to loss of large volumes of blood. Common sources of upper gastrointestinal bleeding in children include mucosal lesions and variceal hemorrhage (most commonly extra hepatic portal venous obstruction) and, in intensive care settings infections and drugs are other etiological factors associated with bleeding. Massive upper Gl bleeding is life threatening and requires immediate resuscitation measures in the form of protection of the airways, oxygen administration, immediate volume replacement with ringer lactate or normal saline, transfusion of whole blood or packed cells and also monitoring the adequacy of volume replacement by central venous lines and urine output. Upper Gl endoscopy is an effective initial diagnostic modality to localize the site and cause of bleeding in almost 85–90% of patients. Antacids supplemented by H2-receptor antagonists, proton pump inhibitors and sucralfate are the mainstay in the treatment of bleeding from mucosal lesion. For variceal bleeds, emergency endoscopy is the treatment of choice after initial haemodynamic stabilization of patient. If facilities for endoscopic sclerotherapy (EST) are not available, pharmacotherapy which decreases the portal pressure is almost equally effective and should be resorted to. Shunt surgery is reserved for patients who do not respond to the above therapy. β blockers combined with sclerotherapy have been shown to be the most effective therapy in significantly reducing the risk of recurrent rebleeding from varices as well as the death rates, as compared to any other modality of treatment. Based on studies among adult patients, presence of shock, co-morbidities, underlying diagnosis, presence of stigmata of recent hemorrhage on endoscopy and rebleeding are independent risk factors for mortality due to upper Gl bleeding. Rebleeding is more likely to occur if the patient has hematemesis, liver disease, coagulopathy, hypotension and or anemia. There is a great need for conducting therapeutic trials as well as identifying predictors of outcome of upper Gl bleeding in children to develop evidence based management protocols.

Key words

Acute upper Gl bleed Etiology Management Portal hypertension 


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Copyright information

© Dr. K C Chaudhuri Foundation 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • N K Arora
    • 1
  • S. Ganguly
    • 1
  • P. Mathur
    • 1
  • A. Ahuja
    • 1
  • A. Patwari
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Nutrition, Department of PediatricsAll India Institute of Medical SciencesNew DelhiIndia

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