June 27, 2020

Background: Acute gastrointestinal bleeding (GIB) is a common diagnosis dealt with by emergency clinicians.  Definitive therapy for acute GIB often includes endoscopy or surgery. However, there is a myriad of pharmaceutical options (i.e. PPI, Somatostatin Analogues, Antibiotics, etc.) as well as blood products that may be instituted as part of the acute resuscitation of these patients. The role of tranexamic acid (TXA) in resuscitation of this condition is unknown.

TXA has become one of the darling medications of emergency medicine, with numerous indications, minimal side effect profile and low cost. TXA works by inhibiting blood clot breakdown (i.e. fibrinolysis).  TXA has been shown to decrease death from bleeding in other conditions (Trauma, Postpartum hemorrhage) but there is limited evidence for its use in GIB.  A systematic review and meta-analysis of seven randomized trials with just over 1600 patients [2] showed a reduction in all-cause mortality.  However, the individual trials were small and prone to a myriad of biases making these conclusions hypothesis generating at best.

April 13, 2018

Recently I was asked to speak at the Texas College of Emergency Physicians (TCEP) conference April 2018.  The particulars of this session were, five, 10 minute lectures on new indications for old drugs.  My topic was the use of octreotide and somatostatin for undifferentiated upper gastrointestinal bleeding.  This is a particular topic I have been getting more and more requests for, but didn’t really know the evidence behind why I was doing it.  Does it help my patients or just another expensive medication, that takes up an IV with no clear patient oriented outcome?

November 1, 2013

Nasogastric lavage (NGL) seems to be a logical procedure in the evaluation of patients with suspected upper GI bleeding, but does the evidence support the logic? Most studies state that endoscopy should occur within 24 hours of presentation, but the optimal timing within the first 24 hours is unclear.  Rebleeding is the greatest predictor of mortality, and these patients benefit from aggressive, early endoscopic hemostatic therapy and/or surgery. So what are the arguments for and against NGL?