Defining Time in Acute Upper Gastrointestinal Bleeding: When Should We Start the Clock?

J Clin Med. 2023 Mar 28;12(7):2542. doi: 10.3390/jcm12072542.


Introduction: The execution of upper endoscopy at the proper time is key to correctly managing patients with upper gastrointestinal bleeding (UGIB). Nonetheless, the definition of "time" for endoscopic examinations in UGIB patients is imprecise. The primary aim of this study was to verify whether the different definitions of "time" (i.e., the symptoms-to-endoscopy and presentation-to-endoscopy timeframes) impact mortality. The secondary purpose of this study was to evaluate the similarity between the two timeframes.

Methods: A post-hoc analysis was performed on a prospective multicenter cohort study, which included UGIB patients admitted to 50 Italian hospitals. We collected the timings from symptoms and presentation to endoscopy, together with other demographic, organizational and clinical data and outcomes.

Results: Out of the 3324 patients in the cohort, complete time data were available for 3166 patients. A significant difference of 9.2 h (p < 0.001) was found between the symptoms-to-endoscopy vs. presentation-to-endoscopy timeframes. The symptoms-to-endoscopy timeframe demonstrated (1) a different death risk profile and (2) a statistically significant improvement in the prediction of mortality risk compared to the presentation-to-endoscopy timeframe (p < 0.0002). The similarity between the two different timeframes was moderate (K = 0.42 ± 0.01; p < 0.001).

Conclusions: The symptoms-to-endoscopy and presentation-to-endoscopy timeframes referred to different timings during the management of upper endoscopy in bleeding patients, with the former being more accurate in correctly identifying the mortality risk of these patients. We suggest that further studies be conducted to validate our observations, and, if confirmed, a different definition of time should be adopted in endoscopy.

Keywords: acute gastrointestinal bleeding; mortality; prediction; scoring risk; timing to endoscopy.

Grants and funding

This study was sponsored by the flowing Italian scientific societies: AIGO (Italian Association of Hospital Gastroenterologists), SIED (Italian Society of Digestive Endoscopy) and SIGE (Italian Society of Gastroenterology). The funders had no role in the data collection, analysis or interpretation, trial design, patient recruitment or any other aspect of this study.