What should I do if I am vomiting blood?

Vomiting blood is a very serious medical condition. You should seek immediate medical attention if you are vomiting blood. Call 911 if you are vomiting blood and also feel dizzy, faint, or light-headed, or if you are having problems breathing.

How is vomiting blood treated?

If you are vomiting blood your medical team will first try to stabilize any low blood pressure, breathing problems or other complications of excessive blood loss. You may require a blood transfusion, breathing assistance and medication for your blood pressure or to lower stomach acid levels. You may also require IV (given through the veins) fluids, and possibly surgery.

Once a patient is stable, the cause of vomiting blood will be addressed. To determine the cause, several tests may be performed. These include:

  • Blood tests to do complete blood count, check blood chemistry and clotting function
  • Liver function tests
  • X-rays
  • A nuclear medicine scan to look for any active bleeding in the GI tract
  • A rectal examination
  • Inserting a tube through the nose down to the stomach to check for the cause of blood loss
  • A test called a esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) to look for sources of bleeding in the upper GI tract

Once the cause of vomiting blood is determined, your physician will determine the best treatment plan that will address both your symptoms and the underlying condition causing the vomiting.

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