The blood in this patients stomach is precluding endoscopic visualization. Erythromycin is a macrolide antibiotic with potent gastric promotility effects. One dose of IV erythromycin has been shown to promote gastric emptying,2 which can clear gastric contents including blood and improve endoscopic visualization in many patients. This therapy is inexpensive and can be performed quickly. Levofloxacin is a fluoroquinolone antibiotic and does not have promotility properties comparable with those of erythromycin. The patient is experiencing hematemesis and cannot wait 24 hours to repeat the examination. Inducing vomiting could lead to aspiration and should be avoided. Surgical evaluation should be deferred at this time but could be considered if IV erythromycin and the repeat endoscopic procedure are unsuccessful.2
- Administer IV erythromycin 250 mg and repeat endoscopy in 1 hour.
2. Coffin B, Pocard M, Panis Y, et al. Erythromycin improves the quality of EGD in patients with acute upper GI bleeding: a randomized controlled study. Gastrointest Endosc 2002;56:174–9.
Click here to return to the questions
Seminars in Medical Practice
Hospital Physician Board Review Manuals
Copyright © 2009, Turner White Communications
Updated 2/05/09 nvf