Utility of the shock index and other risk-scoring tools in patients with gastrointestinal bleeding

Atul Ratra, Supannee Rassameehiran, Sreeram Parupudi, Kenneth Nugent

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Patients with upper gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding frequently require hospitalization and have a mortality rate that ranges from 6% to 14%. These patients need rapid clinical assessment to determine the urgency of endoscopy and the need for endoscopic treatment. Risk-scoring tools, such as the Rockall score and the Glasgow-Blatchford score, are commonly used in this assessment. These tools clearly help identify high-risk patients but do not necessarily have good predictive value in identifying important outcomes. Their diagnostic accuracy in identifying rebleeding and mortality ranges from poor to fair. The shock index (heart rate divided by systolic blood pressure) provides an integrated assessment of the cardiovascular status. It can be easily calculated during the initial evaluation of patients and monitoring after treatment. The shock index has been used in a few studies in patients with acute GI bleeding, including studies to determine which patients need emergency endoscopy, to predict complications after corrosive ingestions, to identify delayed hemorrhage following pancreatic surgery, and to evaluate the utility of angiograms to identify sites of GI bleeding. Not all studies have found the shock index to be useful in patients with GI bleeding, however. This may reflect the unpredictable natural history of various etiologies of GI bleeding, comorbidity that may influence blood pressure and/or heart rate, and inadequate data acquisition. The shock index needs more formal study in patients with GI bleeding admitted to medical intensive care units. Important considerations include the initial response to resuscitation, persistent bleeding following initial treatment, and rebleeding following a period of stabilization. In addition, it needs correlation with other risk-scoring tools.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)178-184
Number of pages7
JournalSouthern medical journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016


  • gastrointestinal bleeding
  • outcomes
  • risk scoring
  • shock index
  • transfusions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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