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Coffee Ground Emesis

Coffee ground emesis refers to a condition wherein an affected person experiences many bouts of vomiting that has the appearance of coffee grounds. During such bouts of vomiting, the liquid that is ejected out is black or dark brown in color. There will be a granular consistency to it, similar to coffee grounds. This kind of vomiting is normally associated with bleeding that occurs in the stomach.

Causes of coffee ground emesis

  • There are many reasons that may result in the occurrence of coffee ground emesis in a patient. One of the most common causes is the presence of an ulcer in the upper section of the small intestine or the stomach. A bleeding ulcer can lead to seepage of blood into the stomach, resulting in nausea. The mixing of the gastric juices with the blood is what causes the blood to turn dark brown from reddish, leading to coffee ground emesis.
  • A liver disease due to alcohol abuse or cancer of the stomach can also cause coffee ground emesis in certain cases. An extreme inflammation affecting the stomach linings may result in vomiting and slight bleeding. These abnormalities can become very dangerous and hence any individual experiencing coffee ground emesis should immediately consult a doctor for diagnosis and evaluation.

Diagnosis of coffee ground emesis

  • The only procedure to understand the reasons or causes of coffee ground emesis is to undergo an endoscopy. Before performing the procedure, the patient is lightly sedated. Then the affected person has to lie flat on his/her back and the physician will insert a scope via the throat into the stomach. The scope consists of a camera and a light which lets the doctor to check the insides of the stomach.
  • When the physician looks inside the stomach, he/she is able to verify the presence of any anomalies affecting the stomach lining. If an ulcer that is bleeding is detected, then the doctor can stop the bleeding via cauterization of the ulcer. Additionally, tissue samples of the stomach may be taken from the stomach to diagnose for presence of cancer or infection

Coffee ground emesis treatment

  • The constant vomiting of dark brown or blackish blood requires hospitalization for immediate diagnosis and treatment.
  • A tiny plastic tube may be passed down via one of the nostrils and pushed down the throat into the stomach. This tube is known as a nasogastric tube, which is then attached to a suction device. The blood from the stomach will then be sucked out so as to prevent further instances of coffee ground emesis or vomiting discolored blood. Once the bleeding occurring in the stomach stops, the nasogastric tube is removed
  • After the initial treatment, diagnosis will reveal the cause of coffee ground emesis. This may then lead to further treatment. Individuals affected by a bleeding ulcer may be prescribed different medications to reduce the quantities of acid produced by the stomach. The patient will also be advised against the intake of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, because in certain cases, the NSAIDs are known to corrode the stomach lining and cause bleeding.
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