Gastrointestinal bleeding in the elderly

Nat Clin Pract Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2008 Feb;5(2):80-93. doi: 10.1038/ncpgasthep1034.


Gastrointestinal bleeding affects a substantial number of elderly people and is a frequent indication for hospitalization. Bleeding can originate from either the upper or lower gastrointestinal tract, and patients with gastrointestinal bleeding present with a range of symptoms. In the elderly, the nature, severity, and outcome of bleeding are influenced by the presence of medical comorbidities and the use of antiplatelet medication. This Review discusses trends in the epidemiology and outcome of gastrointestinal bleeding in elderly patients. Specific causes of upper and lower gastrointestinal bleeding are discussed, and recommendations for approaches to endoscopic diagnosis and therapy are given.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Endoscopy, Gastrointestinal / methods*
  • Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage* / diagnosis
  • Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage* / epidemiology
  • Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage* / therapy
  • Global Health
  • Hemostatic Techniques
  • Humans
  • Morbidity / trends
  • Prognosis
  • Survival Rate / trends