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Causes of upper gastrointestinal bleeding in adults

Don C Rockey, MD
Section Editor
Mark Feldman, MD, MACP, AGAF, FACG
Deputy Editor
Anne C Travis, MD, MSc, FACG, AGAF


Upper gastrointestinal bleeding (UGIB) is a common medical condition that results in substantial morbidity, mortality, and medical care cost. It commonly presents with hematemesis (vomiting of blood or coffee ground-like material) and/or melena (black, tarry stools). In a small proportion of patients with severe UGIB, it may present as hematochezia.

This topic will review the causes of UGIB. The approach to the diagnosis and management of patients with UGIB, as well as more detailed discussions of some specific causes of UGIB, are discussed separately:

(See "Approach to acute upper gastrointestinal bleeding in adults".)

(See "Peptic ulcer disease: Clinical manifestations and diagnosis".)

(See "Overview of the treatment of bleeding peptic ulcers".)

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Literature review current through: Oct 2017. | This topic last updated: Jan 12, 2016.
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