Background: Endoscopic injection of epinephrine in the treatment of bleeding peptic ulcer is considered highly effective, safe, inexpensive, and easy to use. However, bleeding recurs in 6% to 36% of patients. The aim of this study was to determine the optimal dose of epinephrine for endoscopic injection in the treatment of patients with bleeding peptic ulcer.
Methods: One hundred fifty-six patients with active bleeding or nonbleeding visible vessels were randomized to receive small- (5-10 mL) or large-volume (13-20 mL) injections of a 1:10,000 solution of epinephrine.
Results: The mean volume of epinephrine injected was 16.5 mL (95% CI [15.7, 17.3 mL]) in the large-volume group and 8.0 mL (95% CI [7.5, 8.4 mL]) in the small-volume group. Initial hemostasis was achieved in all patients studied. The number of episodes of recurrent bleeding was smaller in the large-volume group (12/78, 15.4%) compared with the small-volume group (24/78, 30.8%, p = 0.037). The volume of blood transfused after entry into the study, duration of hospital stay, numbers of patients requiring urgent surgery, and mortality rates were not statistically different between the 2 groups.
Conclusions: Injection of a large volume (>13 mL) of epinephrine can reduce the rate of recurrent bleeding in patients with high-risk peptic ulcer and is superior to injection of lesser volumes of epinephrine when used to achieve sustained hemostasis.