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Bleeding peptic ulcer: characteristics and outcomes in Newcastle, NSW

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Background:  Peptic ulcer disease risk factors have changed, as has the impact of treatment on morbidity and mortality. Recent data on clinical presentation and outcome are sparse in Australia.

Aim:  To determine the characteristics and outcome of patients presenting with a bleeding peptic ulcer to a tertiary referral centre.

Methods:  We evaluated patients diagnosed with peptic ulcer bleeding between 2004 and 2008 at a tertiary referral hospital. Variables assessed included demographic data, comorbidities, medication use and Rockall score. Outcomes of interest were the time to endoscopy, peptic ulcer treatment, transfusion requirements, urgent surgery and survival.

Results:  Peptic ulcers were confirmed in 265 patients (55% male), of which 145 were gastric and 119 duodenal. The mean age was 71 years. On admission 38% of patients had haemodynamic instability and 92% had one or more comorbidity. Consumption of ulcerogenic medications at the time of admission was frequent (non‐steroidal anti‐inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) 22%, aspirin 41%, clopidogrel or warfarin 10%) and proton pump inhibitors infrequent (15%). A gastroenterologist managed all patients according to their usual practice. Only a minority of patients received over three units of packed red cells. Few patients were referred for surgery (3%) or died (3%), but both events were significantly higher for the duodenal ulcer group.

Conclusion:  The characteristics and outcomes in patients with peptic ulcer bleeding have changed. Peptic ulcer disease remains a public health problem with modifiable risk factors, such as Helicobacter pylori infection and NSAIDs, which should be targeted to reduce the burden of illness.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Gastroenterology, John Hunter Hospital, Newcastle 2: Department of Gastroenterology, John Hunter Hospital 3: Centre for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of Newcastle, Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia

Publication date: 2011-08-01

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