coffee ground vomitus describes vomit that looks like coffee grounds. This is a
result of coagulated blood in the vomit. Vomiting blood is also known as
hematemesis or coffee ground emesis.
The color of the vomited blood
will vary depending on how long the blood was in your gastrointestinal system.
If there is a delay in vomiting, the blood will appear dark red, brown, or
black. Clotted blood within the vomit will make it appear like coffee grounds.
This is a serious condition that
requires immediate medical attention. Be sure to note the time and amount you
vomited, and anything that might have caused the vomiting. If possible, you
should take a sample of the vomit to your doctor for further testing.
care at an emergency room as soon as you begin vomiting blood. Call 911 for
immediate medical care if you are vomiting large quantities of
coffee-ground-like material and also experiencing:
- unusually pale skin (pallor)
- lightheadedness or fainting
- chest pain
- bright red blood or large clots
in the vomit
- severe abdominal pain
What Causes Coffee Ground Vomitus?
ground vomitus may be a result of various conditions including alcohol abuse,
ulcers, or internal bleeding. If you experience this symptom, it’s important
that you visit a medical care center as soon as possible to get an accurate
Some possible causes of coffee
ground vomitus include:
- liver disease like alcoholic
liver disease, cirrhosis, or liver cancer
- cancer of esophagus, pancreas, or
- peptic or stomach ulcers
- bleeding esophageal varices or
enlarged veins in the esophagus
- diseases such as the Ebola virus,
hemophilia B, or yellow fever
- gastritis or inflammation of the
- gastroesophageal reflux disease
- glomerulonephritis (a type of
- aspirin overdose
How Is Coffee Ground Vomitus Diagnosed?
An examination by a doctor is
necessary whenever there is evidence of gastrointestinal bleeding, such as with
coffee ground vomitus.
doctor may ask questions about your symptoms, other health conditions, and
medications you may be taking. After reviewing your medical history and
performing a physical examination, your doctor will order one or more tests to
determine the cause of bleeding.
In addition to X-rays and baseline blood
tests, you may need to have the following tests.
- an upper gastrointestinal
endoscopy: a procedure where a small flexible scope with a camera is inserted
down your esophagus
- barium studies: a special X-ray that
uses a contrast dye called barium (which you will swallow) to identify problems
in your gastrointestinal tract
- liver function studies: blood
tests that identify any diseases or damage to your liver
- fecal occult blood testing: test
that looks for blood in your stool
- flexible sigmoidoscopy: a
procedure where a small scope with a camera is inserted through the anus and
into the colon and rectum
Your doctor will make a diagnosis
based on these tests and begin a treatment plan to address your underlying