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Older males with underlying health conditions are at a high risk of dying from intestinal bleeding in hospitals

Research Activities, April 2009

Nearly 4 percent of hospitalized patients who have bleeding in their lower intestines die in the hospital, according to a national study. Compared with patients who were discharged from the hospital after a diagnosis of lower intestinal bleeding, the 8,737 patients who died in the hospital tended to be older than 70 and male. They also had underlying health conditions, including intestinal ischemia (diminished blood flow to the small intestine or colon).

The patients who died also tended to have clotting disorders and hypovolemia (an abnormal decrease in blood volume), required blood transfusions (indicating that their bleeding was severe), and began bleeding after they were hospitalized with another condition. Patients who underwent diagnostic tests were also less likely to die than patients who did not undergo tests.

These findings indicate that supportive care and addressing the conditions that are causing the bleeding may do more to improve survival rates for lower intestinal bleeding than early therapeutic interventions, note Lisa L. Strate, M.D., M.P.H., of the University of Washington School of Medicine, and her colleagues at Brigham and Women's Hospital. Their findings were based on 2002 data from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project Nationwide Impatient Sample. This study was funded in part by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (HS14062).

See "Risk factors for mortality in lower intestinal bleeding," by Dr. Strate, John Z. Ayanian, M.D., M.P.P., Gregory Kotler, Ph.D., and Sapna Syngal, M.D., M.P.H., in the September 2008 Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology 6(9), pp. 1004-1010.

Current as of April 2009
Internet Citation: Older males with underlying health conditions are at a high risk of dying from intestinal bleeding in hospitals: Research Activities, April 2009. April 2009. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.