Cureus. 2021 Jul 1;13(7):e16092. doi: 10.7759/cureus.16092. eCollection 2021 Jul.
Background Endoscopy is the cornerstone for the diagnosis and treatment of nonvariceal upper gastrointestinal bleeding. Regarding the management of nonvariceal bleeding, the administration of crystalloid solution and proton pump inhibitors before endoscopy is well established, but the optimal timing of endoscopy has been a matter of debate and a subject of many investigational studies. The need for urgent endoscopy arises to provide prompt redress to acute bleeding, decrease the length of stay, and lower mortality from ongoing bleeding. Objective This study aimed to determine if endoscopy performed within 24 hours of presentation improves outcomes in terms of mortality, hospital length of stay, and rebleeding in individuals presenting with nonvariceal upper gastrointestinal bleed with any risk. Methodology We performed a systematic review of two large databases (PubMed and Google Scholar) to incorporate all studies published after 2000. We included studies with nonvariceal upper gastrointestinal bleeding and excluded those reporting variceal gastrointestinal hemorrhage. Results We reviewed eight studies that qualified after meeting our inclusion and exclusion criteria. We divided these studies into three separate groups based on the timing of endoscopy. Only two studies found a difference in mortality that was statistically significant in patients who underwent endoscopy within 24 hours of presentation. One study showed lower mortality in a patient who underwent urgent endoscopy, but it did not reach statistical significance. Other studies did not show any statistical difference in mortality, hospital length of stay, and rebleeding rates. The studies showed conflicting evidence on the amount of blood transfusion, though urgent endoscopy was found to be difficult in few studies due to blood obscuring the lesion. Conclusions While data suggest that there is a potential benefit in performing endoscopy sooner, there is no concrete evidence to point to a particular time range. Before performing endoscopy, the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (2012) recommends adequate resuscitation with crystalloid solutions, blood transfusions, and antisecretory and prokinetic agent therapy. More investigational studies are needed to formulate a time-sensitive flow sheet to approach endoscopy in patients with nonvariceal upper gastrointestinal bleeding. A strict criterion is also needed to delineate patients into low-risk and high-risk groups. Doing so would provide a systematic approach to help with mortality, rebleeding, and healthcare resource utilization.