AGA Clinical Practice Update on Endoscopic Therapies for Non-Variceal Upper Gastrointestinal Bleeding: Expert Review

Daniel K. Mullady, Andrew Y. Wang, Kevin A. Waschke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Description: The purpose of this American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) Institute Clinical Practice Update is to review the available evidence and best practice advice statements regarding the use of endoscopic therapies in treating patients with non-variceal upper gastrointestinal bleeding. Methods: This expert review was commissioned and approved by the AGA Institute Clinical Practice Updates Committee and the AGA Governing Board to provide timely guidance on a topic of high clinical importance to the AGA membership, and underwent internal peer review by the Clinical Practice Updates Committee and external peer review through standard procedures of Gastroenterology. This review is framed around the 10 best practice advice points agreed upon by the authors, which reflect landmark and recent published articles in this field. This expert review also reflects the experiences of the authors who are gastroenterologists with extensive experience in managing and teaching others to treat patients with non-variceal upper gastrointestinal bleeding (NVUGIB). Best Practice Advice 1: Endoscopic therapy should achieve hemostasis in the majority of patients with NVUGIB. Best Practice Advice 2: Initial management of the patient with NVUGIB should focus on resuscitation, triage, and preparation for upper endoscopy. After stabilization, patients with NVUGIB should undergo endoscopy with endoscopic treatment of sites with active bleeding or high-risk stigmata for rebleeding. Best Practice Advice 3: Endoscopists should be familiar with the indications, efficacy, and limitations of currently available tools and techniques for endoscopic hemostasis, and be comfortable applying conventional thermal therapy and placing hemoclips. Best Practice Advice 4: Monopolar hemostatic forceps with low-voltage coagulation can be an effective alternative to other mechanical and thermal treatments for NVUGIB, particularly for ulcers in difficult locations or those with a rigid and fibrotic base. Best Practice Advice 5: Hemostasis using an over-the-scope clip should be considered in select patients with NVUGIB, in whom conventional electrosurgical coagulation and hemostatic clips are unsuccessful or predicted to be ineffective. Best Practice Advice 6: Hemostatic powders are a noncontact endoscopic option that may be considered in cases of massive bleeding with poor visualization, for salvage therapy, and for diffuse bleeding from malignancy. Best Practice Advice 7: Hemostatic powder should be preferentially used as a rescue therapy and not for primary hemostasis, except in cases of malignant bleeding or massive bleeding with inability to perform thermal therapy or hemoclip placement. Best Practice Advice 8: Endoscopists should understand the risk of bleeding from therapeutic endoscopic interventions (eg, endoluminal resection and endoscopic sphincterotomy) and be familiar with the endoscopic tools and techniques to treat intraprocedural bleeding and minimize the risk of delayed bleeding. Best Practice Advice 9: In patients with endoscopically refractory NVUGIB, the etiology of bleeding (peptic ulcer disease, unknown source, post surgical); patient factors (hemodynamic instability, coagulopathy, multi-organ failure, surgical history); risk of rebleeding; and potential adverse events should be taken into consideration when deciding on a case-by-case basis between transcatheter arterial embolization and surgery. Best Practice Advice 10: Prophylactic transcatheter arterial embolization of high-risk ulcers after successful endoscopic therapy is not encouraged.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1120-1128
Number of pages9
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2020


  • Clips
  • Endoscopy
  • Hemospray
  • Hemostatic Forceps
  • Hemostatic Powder
  • Rebleeding
  • Upper Gastrointestinal Tract Bleeding

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