Gastrointestinal bleeding can fall into two broad categories: upper and lower sources of bleeding. The anatomic landmark that separates upper and lower bleeds is the ligament of Treitz, also known as the suspensory ligament of the duodenum. This peritoneal structure suspends the duodenojejunal flexure from the Retroperitoneum. Bleeding that originates above the ligament of Treitz usually presents either as Hematemesis or melena whereas bleeding that originates below most commonly presents as Hematochezia. This activity reviews the evaluation and management of gastrointestinal bleeding and highlights the role of the Interprofessional team in evaluating and improving care for patients with this condition.
- Blood tests. You may need a complete blood count, a test to see how fast your blood clots, a platelet count and liver function tests.
- Stool tests. Analyzing your stool can help determine the cause of occult bleeding.
- Nasogastric lavage. A tube is passed through your nose into your stomach to remove your stomach contents. This might help determine the source of your bleed.
- Upper endoscopy. This procedure uses a tiny camera on the end of a long tube, which is passed through your mouth to enable your doctor to examine your upper gastrointestinal tract.
- Colonoscopy. This procedure uses a tiny camera on the end of a long tube, which is passed through your rectum to enable your doctor to examine your large intestine and rectum.
- Capsule endoscopy. In this procedure, you swallow a vitamin-size capsule with a tiny camera inside. The capsule travels through your digestive tract taking thousands of pictures that are sent to a recorder you wear on a belt around your waist. This enables your doctor to see inside your small intestine.