Published online Nov 15, 2014. doi: 10.4291/wjgp.v5.i4.467
Revised: July 15, 2014
Accepted: August 27, 2014
Published online: November 15, 2014
Core tip: This review provides a practical diagnostic guide for clinicians who encounter patients with suspected gastrointestinal bleeding in the hospital and primary health care settings. Clinical presentations of gastrointestinal bleeding are classified as overt (acute), occult (chronic) or obscure and the corresponding diagnostic algorithms are illustrated through review of the key evidence and consensus guidelines. Upper endoscopy and colonoscopy are the mainstay of initial investigations. Angiography and radionuclide imaging are best suited for acute overt gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding. Capsule endoscopy and deep enteroscopy play significant roles in the diagnosis of obscure GI bleeding, usually from the small bowel.