Health Questions and Answers

Question: How to manage a hemodynamically unstable patient due to GI bleeding?

Answer:

If there are signs of an acute, life-threatening bleed and an unstable condition, aggressive resuscitation and evaluation for the source must be under taken immediately. Placement of a nasogastric (NG) tube to assess for evidence of an upper GI source and, if present, to document the rapidity of bleeding should be done at this time. Close monitoring of vital signs and urinary output in an ICU setting is imperative. The patient must be also be monitored for signs of concomitant heart, lung, renal, or central nervous system disease.

Reference:  Sleisenger MH, Fordtran JS (eds): Gastrointestinal Disease: Pathophysiology, Diagnosis, and Management, 7th ed. Philadelphia, W.B. Saunders, 2003.

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