(HealthDay News) – The death rate from upper gastrointestinal bleeding has steadily fallen in the United States over the past two decades, though the overall economic burden has more than doubled to $7.6 billion a year.

Marwan Abougergi, MD, and John Saltzman, MD, from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, analyzed data from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample starting from 1989 to examine the incidence, mortality, and resource utilization after upper gastrointestinal hemorrhage (UGIH).

The researchers found that, while the incidence of UGIH appeared stable, mortality from total, variceal, and non-variceal UGIH steadily decreased, from 4.69% in 1989 to 2.13% in 2009, despite largely stable patient age and comorbidities. The length of hospital stay also decreased. The proportion of in-hospital diagnostic and therapeutic endoscopies increased, median hospitalization charges increased, and the overall economic burden of UGIH increased from $3.3 billion in 1989 to more than $7.6 billion in 2009.

“A database of this scale was needed to accurately delineate the trends in upper GI bleeding outcomes,” Saltzman said in a statement. “We finally are seeing patient benefits from the [advances] in medical and endoscopic therapies introduced over the past 20 years.”

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