Background: Potent antiplatelet and anticoagulant agents along with early revascularization are increasingly used in patients hospitalized with acute coronary syndromes (ACS). An important complication associated with these therapies is gastrointestinal bleeding (GIB); yet, the predictors, optimal management, and outcomes associated with GIB in ACS patients are poorly studied. Methods: We investigated the incidence, predictors, pathological findings, and clinical outcomes associated with GIB in patients with ACS hospitalized at a United States tertiary center between 1996 and 2001. Results: Three percent (80/3,045) of ACS patients developed clinically significant GIB. Predictors of GIB were older age, female gender, non-smoking status, peak troponin I, and prior heart failure, diabetes, or hypertension. Patients with GIB were more critically ill with lower blood pressure and higher heart rates. GIB was associated with an increased need for transfusion, mechanical ventilation, and inotropes/ pressors. In-hospital mortality was significantly higher in ACS patients with versus without GIB (36% vs. 5%, P < 0.001). Thirty patients (38%) with GIB underwent endoscopy with no procedural complications of death, arrhythmia, urgent ischemia, or hemodynamic deterioration. Conclusion: In patients with ACS, GIB is associated with older age, female sex, peak troponin I, non-smoking status, diabetes, hypertension, and heart failure. Hospital mortality is increased eightfold when ACS patients experience GIB. More studies are needed to establish the safety of and optimal timing of endoscopy in these patients.
- Acute coronary syndromes
- Gastrointestinal bleeding
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine