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Hematochezia: Wikis


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Classification and external resources
ICD-9 578.1
DiseasesDB 19317

Hematochezia is the passage of maroon colored stool [1]. It is distinguished from melena, which is stool with blood that has been altered by reaction with stomach acids and appears black/"tarry". It is also different from bright-red blood per rectum (BRBPR). Hematochezia is commonly associated with lower gastrointestinal bleeding, but may also occur from a brisk upper GI bleed.



In adults, most common causes are hemorrhoids and diverticulosis, both of which are relatively benign; however, it can also be caused by colorectal cancer, which is potentially fatal. In a newborn infant, hematochezia may be the result of swallowed maternal blood at the time of delivery, but can also be an initial symptom of necrotizing enterocolitis, a serious condition affecting premature infants. In adolescents and young adults, inflammatory bowel disease, particularly ulcerative colitis, is a serious cause of hematochezia that must be considered and excluded.

Hematochezia can be due to upper gastrointestinal bleeding. However, as the blood from such a bleeding is usually chemically modified by action of acid and enzymes, it presents more commonly as melena. Hematochezia from an upper gastrointestinal source is an ominous sign, as it suggests a very brisk bleed which is life threatening.

See also


  1. ^ Common Medical Diagnoses: An Algorithmic Approach. Patricia Healey and Edwin Jacobson. 4th Edition. Page 44 - GI bleeding.

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