The color of vomited blood varies depending on the amount of time the blood has been in the gastrointestinal system. If there is a delay in vomiting, blood will appear dark red, brown or black and precipitated blood clots produce the appearance of coffee ground like material. Gastrointestinal bleeding is always a serious concern warranting prompt medical attention. Be sure to note the time vomited, the amount vomited and any precipitating events. If possible, take a sample of the coffee ground emesis to the clinician for further testing to determine the presence or absence of vomiting.
Alcoholic liver disease
Bleeding esophageal varices
Cancer of the esophagus
Diagnosis and Treatments
A comprehensive evaluation by a physician is needed whenever there is evidence of gastrointestinal bleeding, as is the case with coffee ground vomitus. Treatment will depend on accompanying symptoms and the diagnosis. Diagnostic studies might include upper gastrointestinal endoscopy, x-rays, blood tests, barium studies, liver function studies, fecal occult blood testing and flexible sigmoidoscopy.
Call your provider:
Report coffee ground vomitus to your doctor immediately.
If there is vomiting of large quantities of coffee ground like material, accompanied by:
Bright red blood
Severe abdominal pain
Written by: JC Jones MA, RN Reviewed by: Paul Auerbach, MD Written: November 19, 2007 Last Updated: November 30, 2007 Published By:
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