Background: Between 3% and 40% of patients surviving an episode of upper gastrointestinal bleeding (UGIB) experience a recurrence within 1 year. Aim To characterize further the recurrence rate of UGIB and to investigate the role of long-term acid suppressive therapy in its secondary prevention.
Methods: Recurrent cases of UGIB were identified among patients registered in The Health Improvement Network in the UK. A nested case-control analysis provided relative risk (RR) estimates of factors associated with recurrence.
Results: Of 1287 patients included, 67 (5.2%) were identified with a recurrent UGIB episode, corresponding to a recurrence rate of 17.5 per 1000 person-years during a mean follow-up of 3 years. The greatest risk of recurrence was in patients prescribed the oral anticoagulant warfarin (RR: 5.38; 95% confidence interval: 2.02-14.36). Use of a single proton pump inhibitor (PPIs) was associated with a reduced risk of recurrence (RR: 0.51; 95% confidence interval: 0.26-0.99), even in patients taking warfarin, while current use of H(2)-receptor antagonists was not. After the first episode of UGIB, use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and aspirin was greatly reduced, preventing estimation of the risk associated with these drugs.
Conclusion: Long-term PPI therapy reduces the risk of UGIB recurrence.