The Effectiveness of Early Endoscopy for Upper Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage: A Community-Based Analysis

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The effectiveness of upper endoscopy in unselected patients with upper gastrointestinal hemorrhage has not been well studied. This study was undertaken to identify factors associated with the performance of early endoscopy (ie, within 1 day of hospitalization) and, after adjusting for these factors, to determine associations between early endoscopy and in-hospital mortality, length of stay, and performance of surgery.


Subjects in this observational cohort study were 3,801 consecutive admissions with upper gastrointestinal hemorrhage to 30 hospitals in a large metropolitan region. Demographic and clinical data were abstracted from hospital records. A multivariable model based on factors that potentially could relate to the decision to perform endoscopy was developed to determine the propensity (0 to 100%) for early endoscopy in each patient.


Early endoscopy was performed in 2,240 patients (59%), and although it was not associated with mortality after adjusting for severity of illness among all patients, it was associated with a higher risk of death for patients in the lowest propensity group. Early endoscopy was associated with a lower likelihood of upper gastrointestinal surgery in all patients and in the two highest propensity groups and with a shorter length of stay in the entire cohort and in all subgroups.


In the absence of specific contraindications, early endoscopy should be considered because of associated reductions in length of stay and surgical intervention. Further studies are needed to identify subgroups in whom the procedure may be associated with adverse effects on survival.

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