Background: Stigmata of recent hemorrhage are important prognostic signs for patients with ulcer bleeding, but these are subjective findings. This study evaluated the additional diagnostic value of Doppler US assessment in patients with a bleeding peptic ulcer.
Methods: A prospective, multicenter study was performed of patients with ulcer bleeding. Stigmata of recent hemorrhage were classified according to the Forrest classification, after which the ulcer was assessed by using an endoscopic Doppler US system. Patients with a Forrest Ib-IIb ulcer with a positive Doppler signal received endoscopic therapy. Patients with a Forrest IIc-III ulcer with a positive Doppler signal were allocated randomly to endoscopic therapy or no therapy. No ulcer without a Doppler signal was treated.
Results: A total of 80 patients were enrolled. Of the Forrest Ib-IIb ulcers, 82% had a positive Doppler signal. Of the Forrest IIc-III ulcers, 53% had a positive Doppler signal. There was no difference in the rates of recurrent bleeding, surgery, or mortality between the group with Forrest Ib-IIb ulcers and between the Forrest IIc-III group with and without Doppler signal, but there was little power in the sample size to detect differences. Bleeding recurred in 3 patients without a Doppler signal. Recurrent bleeding was more frequent in the group in which a Doppler signal was still present immediately after endoscopic therapy (3/11 vs. 1/27; p=0.06).
Conclusions: This study did not substantiate a role for endoscopic Doppler US when this was added to the Forrest classification for making clinical decisions in patients with ulcer bleeding.