Gastroenterology Res. 2021 Jun;14(3):165-172. doi: 10.14740/gr1383. Epub 2021 Jun 19.
BACKGROUND: Gastrointestinal bleeding is a common and potentially life-threatening condition. The incidence of gastrointestinal bleeding has not decreased despite new prophylaxis and treatments. Ulcer is still one of the most common etiologies for upper gastrointestinal bleeding. It is routinely treated with proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) and endoscopic interventions, sometimes endovascular procedures, and rarely today, open surgery with suture to stop the bleeding. The fibrinolytic tranexamic acid (TXA) has a role in bleeding treatment, and is routinely used for example within trauma care, postpartum bleeding and orthopedic surgery. The aim of this study is to assess the incidence of gastrointestinal bleeding. A further aim was to investigate if TXA has any role in medical treatment of gastrointestinal bleeding today.
METHODS: We performed a retrospective cohort study with a review of medical records, involving patients with clinical signs of gastrointestinal bleeding and endoscopically verified ulcers between the years of 2010 and 2016 at the University Hospital of Linkoping, Sweden. The cities of Motala and Linkoping have the primary acute admissions at this Hospital.
RESULTS: We found in total 1,331 patients with gastrointestinal bleeding. The overall incidence for patients with gastrointestinal bleeding was 98.6 (98.6/100,000 inhabitants and year). For those with endoscopically verified ulcer (386 patients), the incidence for peptic ulcer was 28.6/100,000/year. In the group with endoscopically verified ulcer, 25 patients died, giving the 30-day mortality of 6.4%. TXA is still used for treatment of bleeding ulcers. We had two groups, those with and without TXA treatment. They were equal in age, gender and comorbidity. Clinically we saw no major differences in respect to hemodynamic stability. There were more patients with overt bleeding symptoms in the TXA group. We also saw more patients in need of intensive care in the TXA group.
CONCLUSIONS: The incidence of gastrointestinal bleeding has not significantly decreased during the last years. There was no significant positive effect of TXA in patients with upper gastrointestinal bleeding in this study. The difference between the two groups is probably more a question of whom we treat with TXA (e.g., the patients in worse condition or at higher risk) than a difference in drug effect. It is time to quit with TXA treatment in all patients with gastrointestinal bleeding, even those at intensive care unit (ICU).