Recurrent gastrointestinal bleeding: Use of thrombolysis with anticoagulation in diagnosis

Eric S. Malden, Marshall E. Hicks, Henry D. Royal, Giuseppe Aliperti, Brent T. Allen, Daniel Picus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: To determine the safety and diagnostic accuracy of a provocative protocol with heparin and urokinase to induce bleeding and determine the source in patients with chronic gastrointestinal hemorrhage. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Nine patients had gastrointestinal bleeding from an indeterminate source and had negative results from esophagogastroduodenoscopy, colonoscopy, small-bowel examination, and angiography. Ten provocative bleeding studies were performed prospectively. Patients had no clinical evidence of bleeding within 2 days before the study. Intravenous administration of heparin and urokinase was performed systemically during a 4-hour period while scintigraphy was performed continuously. Mesenteric angiography was performed immediately in patients in whom substantial gastrointestinal bleeding was detected at scintigraphy. RESULTS: The provocative protocol was successful in inducing scintigraphically detectable hemorrhage in four (40%) studies within 4 hours. In two of these four studies, the source of hemorrhage was determined and treated with embolization or surgery. Three (30%) studies demonstrated scintigraphic evidence of hemorrhage only at delayed imaging (8-24 hours after initiation of the study. The remaining three (30%) studies did not show active bleeding. No complications occurred, including hemodynamic instability or uncontrollable decreases in hematocrit. CONCLUSION: Since this protocol with heparin and urokinase enabled determination of the bleeding source in only two of 10 studies, protocol modification are necessary before this intervention is used widely.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-152
Number of pages6
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 1 1998


  • Gastrointestinal tract, angiography
  • Gastrointestinal tract, hemorrhage
  • Gastrointestinal tract, radionuclide studies
  • Heparin
  • Interventional procedures, experimental


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