A prospective survey of acute upper gastrointestinal hemorrhage in the major government hospital of Kenya was done using fibre-optic esophagogastroduodenoscopy. Of 66 African patients presenting with hematemesis and melena, a precise visual diagnosis was made in 89%. Duodenal ulcer was most common, accounting for 53%, but esophageal varices occurred in 20%. Gastric ulcers and esophagitis were surprisingly infrequent. There was a correlation between hemorrhage from esophageal varices and schistosomiasis distribution. Variceal bleeding occurred in a young age group (mean age 28 yr) and correlated closely with the presence of splenomegaly. These findings have implications for the diagnostic approach and management of patients from areas of endemic schistosomiasis.
Present address: Department of Medicine, University of California—San Diego, 225 W. Dickinson Street, San Diego, California 92103.
Present address: Montreal General Hospital, Montreal, Quebec.