Intended for healthcare professionals


Causes of lower GI bleeds . . . and other stories

BMJ 2020; 368 doi: (Published 26 March 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;368:m1105

Lower gastrointestinal bleeds

If a patient taking oral anticoagulants has a lower gastrointestinal bleed, it’s a mistake to think that the anticoagulant is to blame. A large Danish register study finds that there’s a substantial possibility that the bleed has nothing to do with the drug. Among 2500 people who sustained lower GI bleeds while taking anticoagulants, nearly 140 were subsequently diagnosed with colorectal cancer. The absolute risk of colorectal cancer after lower GI bleeding in people on anticoagulants was between 4% and 8%. Older people had the highest risk (Eur Heart J doi:10.1093/eurheartj/ehz964).

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