Type of publication:
*Ding M.; *Prawiradiradja R.; *Arastu Z.; *Sabri H.; *Smith M.
United European Gastroenterology Journal; Oct 2017; vol. 5 (no. 5)
Introduction: There has been significant research recently on the use of blood transfusions in upper GI bleeding (UGIB)  with recent evidence advocating a restrictive approach to blood transfusions as well as the use of iron therapy for anaemia post UGIB. Our team conducted a local retrospective analysis on patients admitted with UGIB over a six month period and analysed the use of blood transfusions at our trust which consists of two District General Hospitals. Patient data over a period of up to 12 months post discharge was collected to monitor their anaemia. Aims & Methods: Our aim was to monitor the appropriateness of transfusions in Upper GI Bleeding as well as monitoring the response to iron therapy following discharge. All inpatients that had an Upper GI endoscopy for UGIB were analysed. Electronic patient records were obtained from our endoscopy software and hospital database. Patients were selected over a time period of six months from 1/ 6/2015 to 31/12/2015. A Student’s T-Test was used to compare the average increase in haemoglobin (Hb) for patients discharged with iron therapy against those who were not. Results: There were 148 patients, 81 male and 67 female. The mean age was 69.3, minimum 20 and maximum of 98. The average Hb on admission was 103 g/L (min=32 g/L, max=178 g/L). 78 out of 148 (52.7%) patients presenting with UGIB received a blood transfusion. The mean amount of blood received for those transfused was 3.7 units. 48 out of 78 (61.5%) of blood transfusions were given when Hb was below 70 g/L. 30 of 78 (38.5%) were transfused above a Hb of 70 g/L. (36.7%, n=11) of those who were transfused with Hb above 70 had cardiac risk factors. The mortality rate in those transfused above Hb of 70 was 13.3% (n=4) vs 10.4% (n=5) 41.5% (n=44) patients who were anaemic post-UGIB were discharged with iron therapy. The average rise in Hb was 26.5% for those discharged on iron vs 12.1% for those who did not. There was a statistically significant rise in Hb for those discharged with iron therapy (p<0.005) on follow-up versus those who did not receive it (n=62). The anaemia related readmission rates were similar for patients discharged on iron or not (9.1% n=4 vs 9.7% n=6). Conclusion: The data obtained supports a restrictive transfusion policy (mortality rate of 13.3% vs 10.4%). 58.5% of patients who were anaemic on discharge did not receive any iron therapy. On follow up, there was a statistically significant rise in Hb level in the group discharged on iron. Our data affirms recent evidence favouring iron therapy post UGIB. Further education is needed to improve outcome in patients presented with GI bleed.