Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Upper Gastrointestinal Bleeding Anatomy

To better understand upper gastrointestinal bleeding, it helps to understand the anatomy of the esophagus and stomach.

The esophagus is a muscular tube that pushes food to the stomach. The stomach is a large pouch that receives food from a meal. The stomach slowly pushes the food into the small intestine, which absorbs nutrients from the food. The food passes through the small intestine and into the large intestine, which absorbs water from the food. The small intestine is about 18 feet (3.5 m) long and the large intestine is about 5 feet (1.5 m) long.

Gastrointestinal anatomy:

  • Esophagus and stomach
  • Intestines and other abdominal organs
  • Blood vessels of the intestines
  • Entire gastrointestinal tract

Last Updated: Nov 5, 2008 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Upper Gastrointestinal Bleeding References
  1. Farrell JJ, Friedman LS. Review article: the management of lower gastrointestinal bleeding. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2005 Jun 1;21(11):1281-98. [15932359]
  2. Hernandez-Diaz S, Rodriguez LA. Incidence of serious upper gastrointestinal bleeding/perforation in the general population: review of epidemiologic studies. J Clin Epidemiol. 2002 Feb;55(2):157-63. [11809354]
  3. Khuroo MS, Khuroo MS, Farahat KL, Kagevi IE. Treatment with proton pump inhibitors in acute non-variceal upper gastrointestinal bleeding: a meta-analysis. J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2005 Jan;20(1):11-25. [15610441]
  4. Lewis B, Goldfarb N. Review article: The advent of capsule endoscopy--a not-so-futuristic approach to obscure gastrointestinal bleeding. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2003 May 1;17(9):1085-96. [12752345]
  5. Olds GD, Cooper GS, Chak A, Sivak MV Jr, Chitale AA, Wong RC. The yield of bleeding scans in acute lower gastrointestinal hemorrhage. J Clin Gastroenterol. 2005 Apr;39(4):273-7. [15758618]
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