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Korean J Intern Med. 2018 Mar;33(2):304-312. doi: 10.3904/kjim.2016.182. Epub 2017 Mar 15.

Early versus late bedside endoscopy for gastrointestinal bleeding in critically ill patients.

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Department of Internal Medicine and Liver Research Institute, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
Department of Internal Medicine and Healthcare Research Institute, Seoul National University Hospital Healthcare System Gangnam Center, Seoul, Korea.



Gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding is a life-threatening complication in critically ill patients. The aim of this study was to determine the efficacy of bedside endoscopy in an intensive care unit (ICU) setting, and to compare the outcomes of early endoscopy (within 24 hours of detecting GI bleeding) with late endoscopy (after 24 hours).


We retrospectively reviewed the medical records of patients who underwent bedside endoscopy for nonvariceal upper GI bleeding and lower GI bleeding that occurred after ICU admission at Seoul National University Hospital from January 2010 to May 2015.


Two hundred and fifty-three patients underwent bedside esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) for upper GI bleeding (early, 187; late, 66) and 69 underwent bedside colonoscopy (CS) for lower GI bleeding (early, 36; late, 33). Common endoscopic findings were peptic ulcer, and acute gastric mucosal lesion in the EGD group, as well as ischemic colitis and acute hemorrhagic rectal ulcers in the CS group. Early EGD significantly increased the rate of finding the bleeding focus (82% vs. 73%, p = 0.003) and endoscopic hemostasis (32% vs. 12%, p = 0.002) compared with late EGD. However, early CS significantly decreased the rate of identifying the bleeding focus (58% vs. 82%, p = 0.008) and hemostasis (19% vs. 49%, p = 0.011) compared with late CS due to its higher rate of poor bowel preparation and blood interference (38.9% vs. 6.1%, p = 0.035).


Early EGD may be effective for diagnosis and hemostatic treatment in ICU patients with GI bleeding. However, early CS should be carefully performed after adequate bowel preparation.


Bedside endoscopy; Early endoscopy; Gastrointestinal bleeding

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