The role of an open-access bleeding unit in the management of colonic haemorrhage. A 2-year prospective study

Scand J Gastroenterol. 1996 Aug;31(8):764-9. doi: 10.3109/00365529609010349.


Background: Major colonic haemorrhage poses difficult diagnostic and therapeutic problems and, in contrast to upper gastrointestinal bleeding, has no generally accepted plan of management.

Methods: We report community-based prospective data accumulated over 2 years (1991-93) on 1602 patients referred to an open-access bleeding unit with suspected gastrointestinal haemorrhage.

Results: Of 278 (17%) admissions with suspected lower GI haemorrhage, 252 were confirmed. Forty-eight per cent were defined as "significant' bleeds, with a decrease in haemoglobin and cardiovascular compromise. Of 102 significant bleeds in subjects more than 60 years old, 29% rebled, and 12.6% required emergency surgery. Diverticular disease (24%) was the commonest diagnosis, with tumours, infective colitis, and inflammatory colitis each at 10%. The overall 30-day mortality for colonic bleeding was 5.1% (13 of 252), with only 1 death occurring in the group less than 60 years old.

Conclusions: This study provides a unique database for the natural history of colonic bleeding and its management within the setting of a specialized bleeding unit.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Colonic Diseases / etiology
  • Colonic Diseases / mortality
  • Colonic Diseases / physiopathology
  • Colonic Diseases / therapy*
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage / etiology
  • Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage / mortality
  • Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage / physiopathology
  • Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage / therapy*
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Survival Rate
  • Triage