Objectives: To obtain epidemiological data on hospitalization for acute upper gastrointestinal hemorrhage (AUGIH) in a demographically defined population.
Methods: Adults hospitalized in 1991 with AUGIH [from a San Diego health maintenance organization (270,699 adult members)] were identified from discharge codes in the International Classification of Diseases, 9th Revision, Clinical Modifications, and their records were reviewed.
Results: There were 276 hospitalizations among 258 patients, an annual incidence rate of 102.0 hospitalizations per 100,000. Patient analysis, including the first admission of 15 patients with multiple hospitalizations, revealed rates of 128.3 in males and 65.8 in females. The rate increased with age in males (p = 0.008) and females (p = 0.001) more than 30-fold between the 3rd and 9th decades of life. AUGIH started before admission in 242 (93.8%) patients and after admission for other disorders in 16 (6.2%) patients. Endoscopy was performed in 241 (93.4%) patients. Diagnoses were: peptic ulcer, 159 (61.6%); mucosal erosive disease, 37 (14.3%); varices, 16 (6.2%); miscellaneous, 25 (9.7%); and unknown, 21 (8.1%). Peptic ulcer patients were similar to other patients (mean +/- SE) in age [60.6 +/- 1.2 vs. 60.7 +/- 1.5 yr] and gender [104 (65.4%) vs. 60 (60.6%) males], but were more often nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID)-users [87 (54.7%) vs. 34 (34.3%) (p = 0.002)]. Older age, female gender, and NSAID use independently predicted gastric ulcer (p < or = 0.03). The severity of bleeding was similar in patients with peptic ulcers and in those with mucosal erosive disease and was not related to NSAID use in peptic ulcer patients. Patients whose AUGIH started after admission were older than those whose AUGIH began before admission [70.4 +/- 2.9 vs. 60.0 +/- 1.0 yr (p = 0.002)], and they had a higher mortality rate [4 (25%) vs. 9 (3.7%) (p = 0.005)].
Conclusions: 1) The annual incidence of hospitalization for AUGIH was 102.0 per 100,000, increased markedly with age, and was twice as high in males as in females. 2) Peptic ulcer was the most common cause. 3) Gastric ulcer was associated with older age, female gender, and NSAID use. 4) Mortality rates were high when AUGIH started after hospitalization for another disorder.