A randomized trial comparing heater probe plus thrombin with heater probe plus placebo for bleeding peptic ulcer

Gastroenterology. 2003 Aug;125(2):396-403. doi: 10.1016/s0016-5085(03)00889-8.


Background & aims: This multicenter, double-blind, controlled trial compared the efficacy of combined endoscopic hemostatic treatment using the heater probe plus thrombin injection with that of the heater probe plus placebo injection as treatment for peptic ulcers with active bleeding or nonbleeding visible vessels. Efficacy was defined in terms of primary hemostasis, prevention of rebleeding, and need for urgent surgery.

Methods: Two hundred forty-seven patients presenting with major peptic ulcer bleeding were randomized to heater probe plus thrombin or to heater probe plus placebo. The groups were well matched for all risk categories including age, endoscopic stigmata, shock, and severity of comorbid diseases. Endoscopic therapy was applied using the heater probe followed by injection of thrombin or placebo.

Results: Successful primary hemostasis was achieved in 97% of patients. Rebleeding developed in 19 (15%) of thrombin plus heater probe patients and 17 (15%) of placebo plus heater probe patients. Emergency surgery was necessary in 16 and 13 patients, respectively. Eight patients in the thrombin group had adverse events compared with 4 in the placebo group. Eight (6%) of thrombin plus heater probe patients and 14 (12%) of placebo plus heater probe patients died (P = 0.21).

Conclusions: The combination of thrombin and the heater probe does not confer an additional benefit over heater probe and placebo as endoscopic treatment for bleeding peptic ulcer. Our trial does not support the use of this combination of hemostatic therapy.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Hemostasis, Endoscopic / instrumentation*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Peptic Ulcer Hemorrhage / therapy*
  • Thrombin / adverse effects
  • Thrombin / therapeutic use*


  • Thrombin