What's a GI Bleed?

  1. All:

    - What is a GI Bleed?

    - I am just getting started with my 2nd semester A&P class, so forgive me if this is a novice nurse question.


    John Coxey
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    About SirJohnny, BSN, LPN

    Joined: Jan '03; Posts: 399; Likes: 125
    Registered Nurse; from US
    Specialty: 8 year(s) of experience in LTC & Private Duty Pediatrics


  3. by   LauraLou
    GI Bleed = Gastrointestinal Bleeding

    I believe it can be either an upper or lower gastrointestinal bleed involving the stomach or the colon.

    I'm still a student, so don't quote me!!!
    Last edit by LauraLou on Aug 16, '03
  4. by   marilynmom
    Here is something I found online about it John, good question!

    Bleeding from the lower part of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract , the colon, is a serious condition that may be life threatening. The causes of bleeding in the colon are several. Malformed blood vessels, out pouching of the colon resulting in diverticuli, and tumors may all cause colonic bleeding. No matter what the cause of the bleeding, it is urgent to locate the site so that, if necessary, it can be surgically removed before the patient is in danger.

  5. by   SirJohnny

    - The real reason I am asking. I keep seeing "GI Bleed" show up in the "disgusting proceedures" threads.

    - I also see that it's quite common in the ICU.

    - I plan on working in the ICU (at least that's where I think I would like to work).

    - Thanks,

    John Coxey
  6. by   VivaLasViejas
    The reason it's so "disgusting" is the smell....it is one of the worst you will ever encounter in your career, and once you've smelled a GI bleed you'll never forget it.
  7. by   agent
    still a student but i had about 5 gi bleeds myself this year..

    the bloody smell is very metallic and sweet smelling, its very distinct and yes not that pleasant.

    I did feel horribly for the CNA who was taking care of me. After my first episode in the hospital I relieved her and got my wife to help me after that.

    Mysteriously the never found the bleed even though they did 4 nuke med tests and every other GI test you can do.
  8. by   glascow
    I can smell a GI bleed when I get off the elevator! As I'm walking into the ICU I always hope that it's not going to be my patient.
  9. by   angelbear
    What is the usual treatment for a GI bleed? Just curious.
  10. by   gwenith
    A Gi bleed is actually a bleed from anywhere in the gastro-intestinal tract and can have a multitude of reasons. It is the bowel motion from an upper gastro-intestinal tract bleed that smells so bad. The worst is the bleeding esophageal varicies where large amounts of blood enter the gastro-intestinal system and pass through only partly digested.

    Contrary to popular myth about vampires the human body cannot digest human blood. It liquifies it and it breaks down into amonia substances. The smell is unbelievable The resultant output is black, tarry and sticky and almost impossible to clean.

    Combine this with the vomit/aspirate smell of blood mixed with gastric contents and you realise how nasty this can be. Fortunately we now treat these a lot better and you do not see as many as we used to.

    I just realised in typing the above I have cursed myself and we will have a run of them:
  11. by   ST_NURSE_MLD
    Very informative!!! Good thread.
  12. by   AmiK25
    The treatment for a GI bleed depends on the cause of the bleed. If it is an upper GI bleed, say from an ulcer, you can usually do an endoscopy (put a tube with a camera down the esophagus to visualize the gi tract) and then cauterize the ulcer while you are doing the scope to stop the bleeding. If it is a lower gi bleed, say from diverticulitis, sometimes you just rest the bowel and let it heal itself. If the bleeding is severe enough, the patient may need surgery. In general, supportive treatment for a patient with a GI bleed includes IV fluids (pt. is NPO to rest the bowel), NG tube to suction, protonix or other meds to protect the bowel, blood transfusion in necessary, and close monitoring for complications such as hypovolemic shock, MI, etc... Hope that helps.
  13. by   live4today
    Originally posted by gwenith
    .........Fortunately we now treat these a lot better and you do not see as many as we used to.
    Uhhhhhhh...come work on my unit and you'll get MORE than your share of GI Bleeds! :chuckle
  14. by   Jen2
    G.Ibleeds are the worst smelling. This is where some Vicks rubbed in your nostrils can really help. Good Thread, very informative.