Kaoshiung Medical University Finds Systemic Sclerosis Correlates with GI Bleeding

Kaoshiung Medical University Finds Systemic Sclerosis Correlates with GI Bleeding

A research team from Kaohsiung Medical University in Taiwan reveals that people with systemic sclerosis (SSc) have a two to three times more probability of experiencing gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding than people without the autoimmune condition.

The Study

A study driven out of Taiwan focused on 3665 patients with SSc and 18,325 controls matched for age, sex, and year of diagnosis were all identified from a national longitudinal health insurance database.

The Findings

5.2% of people with SSc and 3.7% of the control group experienced GI bleeding during a mean of 5.3 and 5.8 years of follow-up, respectively—representing incidence rates of 976.4 and 410.8 cases per 100,000 person-years.

The team report that specifically the incidence of upper GI bleeding was 591.8 versus 286.9 cases per 100,000 person—years in the SSc versus control groups, respectively with corresponding rate of 432.0 versus 238.0 for peptic ulcer bleeding, 507.8 versus 169.5 for non-peptic ulcer bleeding and 528.2 versus 167.1 for lower GI bleeding.


GI bleeding risk is significantly higher for the people with SSc than for controls with incidence rate ratios (IRRs) of 2.38, 2.06 and 3.16 for overall, upper and lower GI bleeding events, respectively. With the upper GI bleeding outcomes, the IRRs for peptic and non-peptic ulcer bleeding were a corresponding 1.78 and 3.00. Multivariate analysis substantiates that SSc was significantly and independently associated with overall, upper and lower GI bleeding risk. Other factors associated with increased GI bleeding risk include having sex, increased age, diabetes, hypertension and the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, antiplatelet therapy and steroids, reported Laura Cowen in Medwirenews.

Lead Research/Investigator

Ping-Hsun Wu, Kaohsiung Medical University

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