To evaluate whether urgent endoscopy improves outcomes in patients predicted to be at high risk for further bleeding or death, we randomly assigned patients with overt signs of acute upper gastrointestinal bleeding and a Glasgow–Blatchford score of 12 or higher (scores range from 0 to 23, with higher scores indicating a higher risk of further bleeding or death) to undergo endoscopy within 6 hours (urgent-endoscopy group) or between 6 and 24 hours (early-endoscopy group) after gastroenterologic consultation. The primary end point was death from any cause within 30 days after randomization.
A total of 516 patients were enrolled. The 30-day mortality was 8.9% (23 of 258 patients) in the urgent-endoscopy group and 6.6% (17 of 258) in the early-endoscopy group (difference, 2.3 percentage points; 95% confidence interval [CI], −2.3 to 6.9). Further bleeding within 30 days occurred in 28 patients (10.9%) in the urgent-endoscopy group and in 20 (7.8%) in the early-endoscopy group (difference, 3.1 percentage points; 95% CI, −1.9 to 8.1). Ulcers with active bleeding or visible vessels were found on initial endoscopy in 105 of the 158 patients (66.4%) with peptic ulcers in the urgent-endoscopy group and in 76 of 159 (47.8%) in the early-endoscopy group. Endoscopic hemostatic treatment was administered at initial endoscopy for 155 patients (60.1%) in the urgent-endoscopy group and for 125 (48.4%) in the early-endoscopy group.
In patients with acute upper gastrointestinal bleeding who were at high risk for further bleeding or death, endoscopy performed within 6 hours after gastroenterologic consultation was not associated with lower 30-day mortality than endoscopy performed between 6 and 24 hours after consultation.