Rebleeding and survival after acute lower gastrointestinal bleeding
BACKGROUND: Previous studies of acute lower gastrointestinal bleeding (LGIB) have focused on evaluation and therapy. Measurement of long-term outcome has been rare. The purpose of this study was to document rebleeding and survival rates in patients with acute LGIB. METHODS: A retrospective review of all patients undergoing technetium-labeled red blood cell scans for LGIB from January of 1997 to December of 2002 was performed. Rebleeding was defined as identification of enteric bleeding requiring a transfusion 2 or more weeks after the initial bleeding episode. RESULTS: A total of 119 patients met inclusion criteria. Rebleeding was documented in 14 of 102 patients surviving for more than 2 weeks. The actuarial rebleeding rate was 15% at 2 years. No factors were identified that portended a higher likelihood of rebleeding. The 30-day mortality was 18% and the median survival was 60 months for the entire cohort. Of the 36 patients in whom cause of death was documented, 4 died of surgical complications and a single patient died as a direct result of hemorrhage. CONCLUSIONS: Rebleeding after an initial episode of LGIB occurs in a small percentage of individuals. Although survival is poor for patients with LGIB, few patients die as a direct consequence of hemorrhage.