Gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding refers to any hemorrhage ascribed to the pathologies of the gastrointestinal tract, extending from the mouth to the anal canal. Despite the recent improvements in the endoscopic, hemostatic and adjuvant pharmacologic techniques, the reported mortality is still around 5%-10% for peptic ulcer bleeding and about 15%-20% for variceal hemorrhages. Although endoscopic management reduces the rates of re-bleeding, surgery, and mortality in active bleeding; early recurrence ratios still occur in around 20% of the cases even with effective initial hemostatic measures. In this quest for an alternative pro-hemostatic agent for the management of GI bleedings, Ankaferd blood stopper (ABS) offers a successful candidate, specifically for "difficult-to-manage" situations as evidenced by data presented in several studies. ABS is a standardized mixture of the plants Thymus vulgaris, Glycyrrhiza glabra, Vitis vinifera, Alpinia officinarum, and Urtica dioica. It is effective in both bleeding individuals with normal hemostatic parameters and in patients with deficient primary and/or secondary hemostasis. ABS also modulates the cellular apoptotic responses to hemorrhagic stress, as well as hemostatic hemodynamic activity. Through its effects on the endothelium, blood cells, angiogenesis, cellular proliferation, vascular dynamics, and wound healing, ABS is now becoming an effective alternative hemostatic medicine for gastrointestinal bleedings that are resistant to conventional anti-hemorrhagic measurements. The aim of this review is to outline current literature experience suggesting the place of ABS in the management of GI bleeding, and potential future controlled trials in this complicated field.
Keywords: Ankaferd blood stopper; Coagulation; Erythrocyte aggregation; Gastrointestinal bleeding; Hemostasis.