What is the prevalence of lower gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding (LGIB) of unknown etiology?

Updated: Jul 26, 2019
  • Author: Burt Cagir, MD, FACS; Chief Editor: BS Anand, MD  more...
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Answer

The average age of patients with lower gastrointestinal bleeding (LGIB) is 60 years in most case series. Despite improvement in diagnostic imaging and procedures, 10%-20% of patients with LGIB have no demonstrable bleeding source, and 5%-10% of patients may present with recurrent episodes of massive LGIB without any identification of the bleeding site. These patients often experience multiple hospital admissions; they also undergo recurrent blood transfusions and several invasive studies repeatedly. Therefore, this complex problem requires systematic and orderly evaluation to reduce the percentage of undiagnosed and untreated cases of LGIB.


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