Background: Upper gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding is the most common emergency managed by gastroenterologists.
Aim: To establish the hospitalized incidence and case fatality for upper GI bleeding, and to determine how they are associated with factors including day of admission, hospital size, social deprivation and distance from hospital.
Methods: Systematic record linkage of hospital in-patient and mortality data for 24 421 admissions for upper GI bleeding among 22 299 people in Wales from 1999 to 2007.
Results: The hospitalized incidence of upper GI bleeding was 134 per 100 000. Case fatality was 10.0%. Incidence was stable from 1999 to 2007; case fatality fell from 11.4% in 1999-2000 to 8.6% in 2006-7. Incidence was associated significantly with social deprivation. Compared with weekday admissions, case fatality was 13% higher for weekend admissions and 41% higher for admissions on public holidays. There was little variation in case fatality according to social deprivation, hospital size or distance from hospital.
Conclusions: Incidence, but not case fatality, was associated significantly with social deprivation. The higher mortality for weekend and public holiday admissions could not be explained by measures of case mix and may indicate a possible impact of reduced staffing levels and delays to endoscopy at weekends in some hospitals.
© 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.