From the AGA Journals

AGA updates endoscopic management of nonvariceal upper GI bleeding



The American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) has published a clinical practice update for endoscopic management of nonvariceal upper GI bleeding (NVUGIB).

The update includes 10 best practice recommendations based on clinical experience and a comprehensive literature review, reported lead author Daniel K. Mullady, MD, of Washington University in St. Louis.

“Numerous endoscopic devices have been developed over the past 30 years with demonstrated effectiveness in treating NVUGIB,” Dr. Mullady and colleagues wrote in Gastroenterology. “The purpose of this clinical practice update is to review the key concepts, new devices, and therapeutic strategies in endoscopically combating this age-old clinical dilemma.”

According to the investigators, endoscopy is central to management of NVUGIB, but only after patients are appropriately triaged and stabilized.

“[E]ndoscopy should be performed to determine the source of bleeding, to assess rebleeding risk, and to treat lesions at high risk for rebleeding,” they wrote. “Exactly when the endoscopy should be performed is a clinical judgment made by the gastroenterologist in consultation with the primary service.”

The investigators recommended that endoscopy be performed within 12 hours for emergent cases and within 24 hours for urgent cases, whereas elective cases could wait longer.

They noted that NVUGIB can range from mild and self-limiting, allowing for outpatient management, to severe and life-threatening, necessitating intensive care. Because of this broad range, the investigators recommended familiarity with triage scoring systems, including the Glasgow-Blatchford Score, the Rockall Score, and AIMS-65.

“A common decision is deciding whether or not to wait until the next morning to perform endoscopy on a patient presenting after hours with suspected NVUGIB,” the investigators wrote.

The investigators cautioned that emergent endoscopy may actually be associated with poorer outcomes because of “inadequate resuscitation,” and suggested that “[p]atients who are hemodynamically stable, do not have ongoing hematemesis, and have melena only can generally be deferred to the following morning.”

Concerning hemostatic technique, Dr. Mullady and colleagues recommended familiarity with conventional thermal therapy and placement of hemoclips. If these approaches are unsuccessful, or deemed unlikely to succeed, they recommended an over-the-scope clip.

For ulcers “with a rigid and fibrotic base,” or those that are hard to reach, the investigators recommended monopolar hemostatic forceps with low-voltage coagulation.

According to the update, hemostatic powder should be reserved for scenarios in which bleeding is diffuse and difficult to locate.

“In most instances, hemostatic powder should be preferentially used as a rescue therapy and not for primary hemostasis, except in cases of malignant bleeding or massive bleeding with inability to perform thermal therapy or hemoclip placement,” the investigators wrote.

They noted that hemostatic powder generally dissolves in less than 24 hours, so additional treatment approaches should be considered, particular when there is a high risk of rebleeding.

When deciding between transcatheter arterial embolization (TAE) and surgery after endoscopic failure, the update calls for a comprehensive clinical assessment that incorporates patient factors, such as coagulopathy, hemodynamic instability, and multiorgan failure; bleeding etiology; potential adverse effects; and rebleeding risk.

“An important point is that prophylactic TAE of high-risk ulcers after successful endoscopic therapy is not recommended,” the investigators wrote.

Beyond these recommendations, the update includes a comprehensive discussion of relevant literature and strategies for effective clinical decision making. The discussion concludes with global remarks about the evolving role of endoscopy in managing NVUGIB, including a note about cost-effectiveness despite up-front expenses associated with some methods.

“With this expanded endoscopic armamentarium, endoscopic therapy should achieve hemostasis in the majority of patients with NVUGIB,” the investigators wrote. “Despite the increased costs of newer devices or multimodal therapy, effective hemostasis to preventing rebleeding and the need for hospital readmission is likely to be a dominant cost-saving strategy.”

Dr. Mullady disclosed relationships with Boston Scientific, ConMed, and Cook Medical.

This story was updated on 9/9/2020.

SOURCE: Mullady DK et al. Gastro. 2020 Jun 20. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2020.05.095.

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