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Introduction to Upper Gastrointestinal (GI) Bleed
Upper GI bleeding is a potentially life-threatening hemorrhage originating anywhere along the GI tract from the esophagus to the level of the ligament of Treitz. Bleeding from the upper GI tract is four times more common than bleeding from the lower GI tract and is a major cause of morbidity and mortality. Upper GI bleeding is associated with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) use, and in patients with a bleeding peptic ulcer, it is associated Helicobacter pylori infections. According to a review in American Family Physician, peptic ulcer bleeding accounts for more than 60% of upper GI bleeding cases. Esophageal varices, most commonly associated with liver disease,  make up approximately 6% of upper GI bleeding cases. Other etiologies include arteriovenous malformations, Mallory-Weiss tears, gastritis, duodenitis, and malignancy.