Background and study aim: The aim was to evaluate the 30-day mortality after endoscopy for suspected upper gastrointestinal bleed, following the implementation of national audit guidelines at our hospital.
Patients and methods: All patients with suspected upper gastrointestinal bleeding, referred for endoscopy to our teaching hospital between October 2001 and December 2003, were included in a prospective cohort study.
Results: A total of 716 patients with suspected upper gastrointestinal tract haemorrhage were referred for urgent endoscopy. The median age was 69 years (interquartile range 51 - 80 years). Bleeding from peptic ulcer remained the single most common endoscopic diagnosis (40 %). The overall re-bleeding rate for all patients with a gastrointestinal haemorrhage was 10 %. The overall 30-day mortality rate was 14.6 %. This was not significantly different from the mortality rate in 1995 of 10.5 % ( P = 0.11). Patients who died were significantly older (78 vs. 67 years, 95 %CI of the difference 5 to 12, P < 0.001). However, in only 29 % (30/105) was gastrointestinal haemorrhage stated in the death certificate as a factor which contributed to their death.
Conclusions: Our results show that implementing the good practice guideline has a limited impact on overall mortality because of contributing factors that are beyond the control of clinicians.