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The aim of our study was to examine differences in length of hospital stay (LOHS) between patients with lower gastrointestinal bleeding who received either an early colonoscopy (within 24 h of presentation) or a standard colonoscopy (within 1 to 3 d).Diagnostic management of lower gastrointestinal bleeding has been extensively debated in recent literature, especially whether colonoscopy within 24 hours of presentation is feasible and safe.In this single center, nonblinded, randomized controlled trial, patients presenting at the emergency department with acute hematochezia were eligible if they required hospital admission. A total of 132 patients were included. Primary outcome was LOHS. Secondary outcomes included yield of colonoscopy, blood transfusion requirements, recurrent bleedings, complications, interventions related to complications, and 30-day mortality. The follow-up period was 1 month.In total, 63 patients were randomized for <24 hours colonoscopy and 69 for standard colonoscopy. In the intention to treat analysis, LOHS was significantly lower in patients that underwent an early colonoscopy, compared with the standard group: median 2.0 days (inter quartile range, 2.0 to 4.0) versus median 3.0 days (inter quartile range, 2.0 to 4.0) (P=0.009). Recurrent bleedings and hospital readmissions were significantly more frequent in the <24-hour group: 13% versus 3% (P=0.04) and 11% versus 2% (P=0.02), respectively. No difference was observed regarding the number of patients diagnosed with a confirmed or presumptive bleeding source. In both groups, blood transfusion rate was similar and 30-day mortality was 0.Early colonoscopy reduces LOHS, but also results in lower clinical efficacy compared with standard colonoscopy.