Improving Quality of Care in Peptic Ulcer Bleeding: Nationwide Cohort Study of 13,498 Consecutive Patients in the Danish Clinical Register of Emergency Surgery

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OBJECTIVES:The treatment of peptic ulcer bleeding (PUB) is complex, and mortality remains high. We present results from a nationwide initiative to monitor and improve the quality of care (QOC) in PUB.METHODS:All Danish hospitals treating PUB patients between 2004 and 2011 prospectively registered demographic, clinical, and prognostic data. QOC was evaluated using eight process and outcome indicators, including time to initial endoscopy, hemostasis obtainment, proportion undergoing surgery, rebleeding risks, and 30-day mortality.RESULTS:A total of 13,498 PUB patients (median age 74 years) were included, of which one-quarter were in-hospital bleeders. Preadmission use of anticoagulants, multiple coexisting diseases, and the American Society of Anesthesiologists scores increased between 2004 and 2011. Considerable improvements were observed for most QOC indicators over time. Endoscopic treatment was successful with primary hemostasis achieved in more patients (94% in 2010–2011 vs. 89% in 2004–2006, relative risk (RR) 1.06 (95% confidence intervals 1.04–1.08)), endoscopy delay for hemodynamically unstable patients decreased during this period (43% vs. 34% had endoscopy within 6 h, RR 1.33 (1.10–1.61)), and fewer patients underwent open surgery (4% vs. 6%, RR 0.72 (0.59–0.87)). After controlling for time changes in prognostic factors, rebleeding rates improved (13% vs. 18%, adjusted RR 0.77 (0.66–0.91)). Crude 30-day mortality was unchanged (11% vs. 11%), whereas adjusted mortality decreased nonsignificantly over time (adjusted RR 0.89 (0.78–1.00)).CONCLUSIONS:QOC in PUB has improved substantially in Denmark, but the 30-day mortality remains high. Future initiatives to improve outcomes may include earlier endoscopy, having fully trained endoscopists on call, and increased focus on managing coexisting disease.

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