In the study, 1,869 patients who had undergone upper endoscopy for upper gastrointestinal bleeding were entered into a Canadian national Registry for Upper GI Bleeding and Endoscopy (RUGBE). A modified Blatchford risk score (mBRS) was calculated to see if it could predict the presence of high-risk stigmata of bleeding, rebleeding rates, and mortality.
This mBRS was also compared with another scoring system—the Rockall score. The mBRS uses clinical and laboratory data to risk assess nonvariceal bleeding. The variables included in the scoring system include hemoglobin, systolic blood pressure, heart rate, melena, liver disease, and heart failure. High-risk endoscopic stigmata were defined as adherent clot after irrigation, a bleeding, oozing or spurting vessel, or a nonbleeding visible vessel. Rebleeding was defined as hematemesis, melena, or a bloody nasogastric aspirate in the presence of shock or a decrease in hemoglobin of 2 g/dL or more.
Patients who had a modified Blatchford risk score of <1 were found to have a lower likelihood of high-risk stigmata on endoscopy and were at a low risk for rebleeding (5%). Patients who had high-risk stigmata on endoscopy but an mBRS score of <1 were also found to have low rebleeding rates. The mBRS seemed to a better predictor than the Rockall score for high-risk stigmata and for rebleeding rates.
Patients with nonvariceal upper gastrointestinal tract bleeding may be identified as low risk for re-bleeding if they are normotensive, not tachycardic, not anemic, and do not have active melena, liver disease, or heart failure. It is conceivable that if endoscopy were not available, these patients could be sent home on high-dose proton pump inhibitor and asked to return for outpatient upper endoscopy within a few days.
The study certainly raises interesting questions. Whether it is acceptable practice to discharge a “low-risk” patient with an upper gastrointestinal hemorrhage on a high-dose proton pump inhibitor with good social support and close outpatient follow-up, but without diagnostic endoscopy is still unclear.
The study is limited by the fact that it is a retrospective analysis; however, it does examine a large cohort of patients. The authors acknowledge this, and this work could lead to a prospective randomized trial that would help answer this question. In the meantime, the mBRS may be a helpful tool to help risk stratify patients admitted for nonvariceal upper gastrointestinal bleeding.
- Cipolletta L, Bianco M, Rotondano G, et al. Outpatient management for low-risk nonvariceal upper GI bleeding: a randomized controlled trial. Gastrointest Endosc. 2002;55(1):1-5.
Lumbar Puncture to Reduce Adverse Events
Straus SE, Thorpe KE, Holroyd-Leduc J. How do I perform a lumbar puncture and analyze the results to diagnose bacterial meningitis? JAMA. 2006 Oct 25;296(16):2012-2022.
Lumbar punctures (LPs) remain a common diagnostic test performed by physicians to rule out meningitis. This procedure may be associated with adverse events, with headache and backache the most commonly reported. This systematic review and meta-analysis sought to review the evidence regarding diagnostic lumbar puncture techniques that might reduce the risk of adverse events, and to examine the accuracy of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) analysis in the diagnosis of bacterial meningitis.
Studies were identified through searches of the Cochrane Library (www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/mrwhome/106568753/AboutCochrane.html), MEDLINE from 1966 to January 2006, and EMBASE from 1980 to January 2006 (without language restrictions) to identify relevant studies. Bibliographies of retrieved articles were also used as data sources.
Randomized controlled trials of patients 18 or older undergoing lumbar puncture testing interventions to facilitate a successful diagnostic procedure or reduce adverse events were identified and selected. As a secondary outcome, trials that assessed the accuracy of CSF biochemical analysis for the diagnosis of bacterial meningitis were also identified and included. Trials that studied spinal anesthesia or myelography were excluded.