Background: Lower gastrointestinal (LGI) bleeding is a common medical problem associated with significant morbidity and mortality. Although most patients stop bleeding spontaneously without intervention and most do not re-bleed, a small number have massive haemorrhage that requires intervention to prevent shock and coagulopathy. Many choices are available in managing such patients. The clinician faces decisions regarding the timing and nature of investigations and treatment options. The aim of this study is to analyse the impact of a protocol to improve clinical practice in this area. Methods: The protocol was based on a review of investigative patterns, and transfusion at the outset of the project. Length of stay, number of inpatient and outpatient colonoscopies, radiolabelled red blood cell (RBC) scans, blood transfusions, re-admissions, operations and deaths were compared for patients admitted prior to and following implementation of the protocol. Results: The number of transfusions and RBC scans both significantly lessened after implementation of the protocol. There were no demonstrable adverse outcomes by way of mortality, length of stay and number of patients requiring operation, colonoscopies and re-admissions. Conclusions: The implementation of a protocol to manage patients with LGI bleeding is matched by a significant reduction in use of hospital resources for these patients over the same time frame. Low morbidity and mortality outcome was maintained following introduction of the protocol.
- Clinical practice improvement
- Colorectal surgery
- Lower gastrointestinal haemorrhage