Hypocalcemia is associated with adverse clinical course in patients with upper gastrointestinal bleeding

Link to article at PubMed

Intern Emerg Med. 2021 Mar 2. doi: 10.1007/s11739-021-02671-6. Online ahead of print.


Acute non-variceal upper gastrointestinal bleeding (NV-UGIB) is associated with significant morbidity and mortality. Early and efficient risk stratification can facilitate management and improve outcomes. We aimed to determine whether the level of ionized calcium (Ca++), an essential co-factor in the coagulation cascade, is associated with the severity of bleeding and the need for advanced interventions among these patients. This was a retrospective single-center cohort study of all patients admitted due to NV-UGIB. The primary outcome was transfusion of ≥ 2 packed red blood cells, arterial embolization, or emergency surgery. Secondary outcomes included (1) transfusion of ≥ 2 packed red blood cells, (2) arterial embolization, or emergency surgery, and (3) all-cause in-hospital mortality. Multivariable logistic regression was performed to determine whether Ca++ was an independent predictor of these adverse outcomes. 1345 patients were included. Hypocalcemia was recorded in 604 (44.9%) patients. The rates of primary adverse outcome were significantly higher in the hypocalcemic group, 14.4% vs. 5.1%, p < 0.001. Secondary outcomes-multiple transfusions, need for angiography or surgery, and mortality were also increased (9.9% vs. 2.3%, p < 0.001, 5.3% vs. 2.8%, p = 0.03, and 33.3% vs. 24.7%, p < 0.001, respectively). Hypocalcemia was an independent predictor of primary and all the secondary outcomes, except mortality. Hypocalcemia in high-risk hospitalized patients with NV-UGIB is common and independently associated with adverse outcomes. Ca++ monitoring in this population may facilitate the rapid identification of high-risk patients. Trials are needed to assess whether correction of hypocalcemia will lead to improved outcomes.

PMID:33651325 | DOI:10.1007/s11739-021-02671-6

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