Nonvariceal upper gastrointestinal bleeding is unique from variceal bleeding in terms of patient characteristics, management, rebleeding rates, and prognosis, and should be managed differently. The majority of nonvariceal upper gastrointestinal bleeds will not rebleed once treated successfully. The incidence is 80 to 90% of all upper gastrointestinal bleeds and the mortality is between 5 to 10%. The causes include nonacid-related ulceration from tumors, infections, inflammatory disease, Mallory-Weiss tears, erosions, esophagitis, dieulafoy lesions, angiodysplasias, gastric antral vascular ectasia, and portal hypertensive gastropathy. Rarer causes include hemobilia, hemosuccus pancreaticus, and aortoenteric fistulas. Hematemesis and melena are the key features of bleeding from the upper gastrointestinal tract, but fresh per rectal bleeding may be present in a rapidly bleeding lesion. Resuscitation and stabilization before endoscopy leads to improved outcomes. Fluid resuscitation is essential to avoid hypotension. Though widely practiced, there is currently insufficient evidence to show that routine red cell transfusion is beneficial. Coagulopathy requires correction, but the optimal international normalized ratio has not been determined yet. Risk stratification scores such as the Rockall and Glasgow-Blatchford scores are useful to predict rebleeding, mortality, and to determine the urgency of endoscopy. Evidence suggests that high-dose proton pump inhibitors (PPI) should be given as an infusion before endoscopy. If patients are intolerant of PPIs, histamine-2 receptor antagonists can be given, although their acid suppression is inferior. Endoscopic therapy includes thermal methods such as coaptive coagulation, argon plasma coagulation, and hemostatic clips. Four quadrant epinephrine injections combined with either thermal therapy or clipping reduces mortality. In hypoxic patients, endoscopy masks allow high-flow oxygen during upper gastrointestinal endoscopy. The risk of rebleeding reduces after 72 hours. In rebleeding, repeat endoscopy is useful and persistent failure of endoscopic therapy mandates either embolization or surgery. In this review, we analyze the management of nonvariceal upper gastrointestinal bleeding with evidence from the currently published clinical trials.
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