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lower GIT bleeding


  • bright red bleeding not mixed with stool after bowel actions which is present on the toilet bowel and/or toilet paper which resolves soon after and is not associated with haemodynamic instability is most likely to be haemorrhoidal in nature and benign. Anal pain on passage of stool may be due to associated anal fissure or complication of haemorrhoid such as thrombosis or prolapsed haemorrhoid.
  • non-haemorrhoidal lower GIT bleeding accounts for 20-30% of GIT bleeding cases.
  • advances in diagnostic and therapeutic colonoscopy and in interventional angiography have resulted in a shift away from the need for surgical treatment.


initial Mx in ED

  • exclude simple haemorrhoidal bleeding as the cause - this can usually be Mx with reassurance, stool softeners and r/v by LMO
  • if patient is on warfarin, consider reversing warfarin if bleeding is heavy
  • if patient is on clopidogrel, consider platelet transfusion
  • iv line
  • bloods for FBE, U&E, coags, group and hold
  • iv fluids to Mx volume loss as indicated
  • if likely to be an infectious colitis, Mx as for gastroenteritis
  • erect CXR to exclude perforation diverticulum
  • PR exam - if melaena, Mx as for upper GIT bleeding, also elderly women may mistake PV bleeding for rectal bleeding and thus a VE may be indicated to rule this possibility out.
  • hourly vital signs and bowel chart as well as fluid balance chart
  • contact surgical team ASAP, particularly if heavy bleeding
  • if Hb < 90 or patient is unstable haemodynamically, then transfuse with 2 units RBC's, and then as needed.
  • repeat Hb at 6 hours
  • if ongoing bleeding:
    • consider RBC scan or CT angiography to identify bleeding point and if positive, consider surgical intervention (eg. most liekly a total colectomy) or embolisation
    • patient is likely to need HDU or potentially ICU admission
  • if bleeding settles:
    • admit for observation and then inpatient or outpatient colonoscopy
gitbleeding_lower.txt · Last modified: 2013/05/27 02:12 by

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