Digestive Diseases and Sciences

, Volume 56, Issue 12, pp 3631–3637 | Cite as

Acute Hemorrhagic Rectal Ulcer: An Important Cause of Lower Gastrointestinal Bleeding in the Critically Ill Patients

  • Cheng-Kuan Lin
  • Cheng-Chao Liang
  • Hou-Tai Chang
  • Fang-Ming Hung
  • Tzong-Hsi Lee
Original Article


Background and Aim

The occurrence of acute hemorrhagic rectal ulcer (AHRU) in patients in the intensive care unit (ICU) has not been well investigated. The aims of this study were to evaluate the clinical manifestations and outcomes in these patients.


The patients developing significant acute lower gastrointestinal (LGI) bleeding after ICU admission from July 2002 to December 2007 were retrospectively reviewed. Bedside colonoscopy was performed within 24 h of bleeding, and those patients with bleeding from AHRU were studied. Ulcers with stigmata of recent bleeding were treated with endoscopic hemostasis, and the outcome of these patients was analyzed.


AHRU occurred in 36 of 114 patients (31.6%) and was the most common cause of acute LGI bleeding after ICU admission. Most patients had comorbidities, such as respiratory failure, renal failure, diabetes mellitus, or atherosclerosis. Fourteen patients (38.9%) developed hypovolemic shock after the onset of bleeding. Endoscopic therapy was performed in 29 patients with 97.2% success rate for hemostasis. Fourteen patients (48.3%) developed rebleeding within 4 weeks. This was controlled by repeated endoscopic intervention. Anticoagulant use was the risk factor for rebleeding after treatment. The survival rate at 4 weeks after bleeding was 52.8%. Logistic regression analysis revealed thrombocytopenia (platelet count <150,000/mm3) and more than one comorbidity were independent predictors for mortality.


AHRU is an important etiology of acute LGI bleeding in the patients with critical illness. Bedside colonoscopy is helpful for early diagnosis and treatment. The underlying comorbidities of the patients influence the outcome after bleeding.


Lower gastrointestinal bleeding Acute hemorrhagic rectal ulcer Colonoscopy Intensive care unit 



Acute hemorrhagic rectal ulcer


Intensive care unit

LGI bleeding

Lower gastrointestinal bleeding


Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II


Conflict of interest

There were no potential conflicts of interest to be disclosed.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cheng-Kuan Lin
    • 1
  • Cheng-Chao Liang
    • 1
  • Hou-Tai Chang
    • 2
  • Fang-Ming Hung
    • 3
  • Tzong-Hsi Lee
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Internal MedicineFar Eastern Memorial HospitalNew Taipei CityTaiwan
  2. 2.Medical Intensive Care UnitFar Eastern Memorial HospitalNew Taipei CityTaiwan
  3. 3.Surgical Intensive Care UnitFar Eastern Memorial HospitalNew Taipei CityTaiwan

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