Risk Factor for Mortality in Lower Intestinal Bleeding

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Lower intestinal bleeding is a serious sign. It’s more common to bleed from the upper digestive tract, the stomach and the upper part of the intestines, but lower intestinal bleeds are a frequent problem too. Most lower intestinal bleeding comes from the colon from a variety of conditions including colon polyps, inflammatory disease of the bowels, hemorrhoids, tears in the lower intestinal tract, cancers and from the effects of blood-thinning medications. The mortality rate from a lower GI bleed varies from a few percent up to 20 percent for larger intestinal bleeds. What are risk factors for mortality in lower intestinal bleeding?

Risk Factors for Mortality in Lower Intestinal Bleeding

According to a study published in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, age is one of the most important important factors for predicting mortality in lower intestinal bleeding. People over 70 years of age have a higher risk of dying of a lower GI bleed than those under the age of 50. This should come as no surprise since older people are more likely to have other medical problems that boost their risk of dying when they lose blood from their intestinal tract.

Having other medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes or cancer also increases the risk of dying due to bleeding from the lower intestinal tract. People who have a decreased number of platelets - blood cells that help to patch up bleeding blood vessels - or abnormal clotting factors - plasma proteins that work together to form a clot - also have a higher risk. Problems with platelets or clotting factors make it more difficult to control bleeding - and lead to greater blood loss.

Not surprisingly, the risk of death with lower intestinal bleeding is higher in those who require a blood transfusion because of excessive loss blood loss. A person’s gender also plays a role. Men are at a higher risk of dying from lower gastrointestinal bleeding than women.

Low GI Bleeding: What Increases the Chance of Surviving?

People who bleed due to less serious conditions such as polyps in the colon and rectum or hemorrhoids are less likely to die from lower intestinal bleeding than those who bleed from more serious causes.

Risk Factors for Mortality in Lower Intestinal Bleeding: The Bottom Line?

Getting prompt medical care prompt medical care for a lower intestinal bleeding can prevent the loss of too much blood. Getting help quickly makes it more likely that the site of bleeding can be found in a timely manner. Once the bleeding stops, it’s more challenging to see where the bleeding is coming from. Fluids are critical, especially when there’s a large amount of bleeding, and some people will require blood transfusions. Despite this, the mortality rate from this condition is relatively low overall, especially if a person gets prompt treatment.


Clin. Gastroenterol. Hepatol. 2008 Sep; 6(9): 1004-10.

Merck Manual. Eighteenth edition. 2006.