What is the pathogenesis of ulcer-related upper gastrointestinal bleeding (UGIB)?

Updated: Sep 01, 2021
  • Author: Bennie Ray Upchurch, III, MD, FACP, AGAF, FACG, FASGE; Chief Editor: BS Anand, MD  more...
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Bleeding peptic ulcers account for the majority of patients presenting with acute upper gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding (UGIB). [3] As previously mentioned, peptic ulcer disease is strongly associated with H pylori infection. The organism causes disruption of the mucous barrier and has a direct inflammatory effect on the gastric and duodenal mucosa.

In cases of ulcer-associated UGIB, as the ulcer burrows deeper into the gastroduodenal mucosa, the process causes weakening and necrosis of the arterial wall, leading to the development of a pseudoaneurysm. The weakened wall ruptures, producing hemorrhage.

The flow through a vessel varies with the fourth power of the radius; thus, small increases in vessel size can mean much larger amounts of blood flow and bleeding, with more severe hypotension and more complications, especially in older patients.

Visible vessels usually range from 0.3-1.8 mm.

Exsanguinating hemorrhage has been reported from larger vessels. The larger vessels are located deeper in the gastric and duodenal submucosa and serosa. Larger branches of the left gastric artery are found high on the lesser curvature, while the pancreatoduodenal artery and its major branches are located posteroinferiorly in the duodenal bulb.

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