In Part 2 of our two part podcast on GI Bleed Emergencies Anand Swaminathan and Salim Rezaie kick off with a discussion on the evidence for benefit of various medications in ED patients with upper GI bleed. PPIs, somatostatin analogues such as Octreotide, antibiotic prophylaxis and prokinetics have varying degrees of benefit, and we should know which ones to prioritize. We then discuss the usefulness of the Glasgow-Blatchford and Rockall scores for risk stratification and disposition of patient with upper GI bleeds and hit it home with putting it all together in a practical algorithm. Enjoy!
Podcast production, sound design & editing by Anton Helman
Written Summary and blog post by Alexander Hart & Shaun Mehta,
Edited by Anton Helman October, 2017
Cite this podcast as: Swaminathan, A, Rezaie, S, Helman, A. GI Bleed Emergencies Part 2. Emergency Medicine Cases. October, 2017. https://emergencymedicinecases.com/gi-bleed-emergencies-part-2/. Accessed [date].
Medications in upper GI bleed emergencies
There is a cocktail that many will learn to give when treating UGIB. Some medications, protocoled though they may be, lack the evidence needed to make them part of standard care. Some we need to give, others are simply nice to give.
Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs) in upper GI bleed emergencies
According to a 2010 Cochrane review, PPIsdo not affect clinically important outcomes. There was no change in mortality, re-bleeding, or the need for transfusion or surgical intervention when compared to placebo. There is also little evidence to support the method by which to administer these drugs. Bolus, infusion or both do not alter outcomes .
There is some data to suggest that PPIs initiated before endoscopy may reduce high-risk stigmata of bleeding at the time of scope (NNT = 15). Most endoscopists still want PPIs given to ED patients presenting with an UGIB.
Take home message:
PPIs should be low priority in your resuscitation
Bolus, no infusion – save that line for other more important things
If the endoscopist wants a PPI given, give it
Antibiotic prophylaxis in cirrhotic upper GI bleed emergencies
Many cirrhotic UGIB patients do not die from hemorrhage but instead from bacterial infections in subsequent days. It makes sense then, that antibiotics should be part of your initial management of these patients.
According to another 2010 Cochrane review, antibiotic administration was associated with reduced mortality, bacterial infections, re-bleeding events and hospitalization length of stay in cirrhotic patients. The data here is strong, with a NNT of 1 in 22 to prevent death and 1 in 4 to prevent infectious complications .
Take home message:
Antibiotics such as Ceftriaxone reduce mortality in cirrhotics with upper GI bleed emergencies
Make antibiotics a high priority in resuscitation
Somatostatin Analogues: Octreotide
Although a 2008 Cochrane review found no mortality benefit, there is evidence that octreotide may help prevent re-bleeding in both variceal and non-variceal UGIB patients. Octreotide reduces splanchnic blood flow and acid production, so it makes physiologic sense to give it .
Take home message:
Octreotide, while not life-saving, may prevent rebleeding for both variceal and non-variceal bleeds
Octreotide should be a moderate priority in the resuscitation of all UGIB patients regardless of cause
GI motility agents for upper GI bleed emergencies: Erythromycin and Metoclopramide
Administration of IV erythromycin 30 minutes before endoscopy for a bleeding peptic ulcer increases gastric motility and improves visualization of the gastric mucosa at endoscopy. A meta-analysis of 4 trials showed that the use of erythromycin decreased the need for blood transfusion and repeat endoscopy .
Metoclopramide is thought to increase GI motility and helps prevent vomiting but studies are small and show no clinical outcome benefit.
Order of priority of IV medications in upper GI bleed emergencies
Ceftriaxone 1 g IV for all cirrhotics
Octreotide 50 μg bolus + 50 μg/hr infusion for all UGIB patients
Erythromycin 250mg, 30 minutes prior to endoscopy for suspected peptic ulcer
PPI e.g. Pantaprazole 80 mg IV bolus (no infusion necessary) – once you’ve given everything else, if the endoscopist asks for it
NNT Summary for Medications in GI bleed
NNT = 10 for Erythromycin to decrease need for repeat endoscopy
NNT = 0 for PPIs to prevent mortality, surgery and repeat bleeding
NNT = 0 for Octreotide to prevent death or need for transfusion
NNT = 22 for prophylactic antibiotics to prevent death
NNT = 4 for prophylactic antibiotics to prevent infection
Risk Stratification and Disposition of GI bleed emergencies
The majority of patients presenting with UGIBs do well, with only 15% requiring intervention. There are several risk stratification scores to help us decide in the ED who is at low risk, but the Glasgow-Blatchford Score (GBS) is the most useful.
The Glasgow-Blatchford Score (GBS) is better than another commonly used score, The Rockall Score, in predicting the need for admission, blood transfusion or surgery .
GBS is also better than Rockall in predicting patients with UGIB who can be safely discharged. Patients with GBS <3 could be considered for early discharge doubling the number of eligible patients from 15% to 32%.
Lactate in risk stratification of GI bleed emergencies
In general, elevated lactate correlates to a worse prognosis in GI bleed as observed in trauma and sepsis patients.
A retrospective 2014 study of 1644 GI patients found that a lactate > 4 mmol/L conferred a 6.4-fold increased odds of in-hospital mortality, and when age, initial hematocrit, and heart rate were controlled, every 1-point increase in lactate conferred a 1.4-fold increase in the odds of mortality .
Take home stepwise approach to GI bleed emergencies
Drs. Helman, Swaminathatn, Rezaie and Morgenstern have no conflicts of interest to declare
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Dr. Anton Helman is an Emergency Physician at North York General in Toronto. He is an Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto, Division of Emergency Medicine and the Education Innovation Lead at the Schwartz-Reisman Emergency Medicine Instititute. He is the founder, editor-in-chief and host of Emergency Medicine Cases.