Upper Gastrointestinal Bleeding at a Public Referal Hospital in Malawi


Background: Upper gastrointestinal bleeding (UGIB) is a medical emergency. Timely and appropriate treatment can be lifesaving. Where medical equipment and supplies are inadequate, management of upper gastrointestinal bleeding is challenging. Methods: A retrospective review of charts of patients who were admitted during the year 2010, with a diagnosis of Upper Gastrointestinal Bleeding (UGIB), was done at Kamuzu Central Hospital, Lilongwe, Malawi. A Rockall score was applied to determine mortality risk. Results: A total number of 187 records (119 men and 68 women, mean age of 40.7 ± 15.3 years) were reviewed. The mortality rate was 23.5%, with a non-significant gender difference. Bleeding oesophageal varices were the most common clinical cause of UGIB (42.8%), with more males (63.1%) than females affected. About 40% of patients had no cause of UGIB indicated in their records. 14 (7.5%) patients had a normal oesophagogastroduodenoscopy (OGD). Oesophageal tumor was present in 2.7% of the subjects as a cause of UGIB. Access to endoscopy, for diagnosis and therapeutic intervention, and surgery (Hassab procedure) was available to less than 50% of the patients. Sixteen patients (9.5%) had surgery after endoscopy due to lack of variceal banding materials. Conclusion: Upper gastrointestinal bleeding is an important and common clinical problem at Kamuzu Central Hospital. Oesophageal varices seem to be the commonest cause of UGIB. Inadequacy of resuscitation materials and perhaps timely diagnostic and therapeutic endoscopic and surgical interventions are important limiting factors to favourable patient outcome. Work towards regular provision and supply of interventional resources regarding UGIB management may improve patient outcome.

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Mulima, G. , Qureshi, J. , Shores, C. , Tamimi, S. , Klackenberg, H. and Andrén-Sandberg, Å. (2014) Upper Gastrointestinal Bleeding at a Public Referal Hospital in Malawi. Surgical Science, 5, 501-507. doi: 10.4236/ss.2014.511077.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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