Hemostatic powder stops bleeding ulcers: doctor

October 13, 2010

A new material similar to that used by the U.S. Military to treat traumatic injuries is showing promise as the next novel treatment for bleeding ulcers, a condition that commonly affects up to 15 per cent of adults, according to Hong Kong physician Dr. James Lau.

Dr. Lau is presenting his findings today on this world-first research at the 23rd International Course on Therapeutic Endoscopy. The course is a world-renowned international conference on the latest innovations in endoscopy organized and hosted by St. Michael's Hospital.

"Nearly 5 to 10 per cent of patients who have a bleeding ulcer experience additional bleeding despite our best treatment efforts," said Dr. Lau, a physician at the Prince of Wales Hospital and professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. "However, our findings suggest a new approach with a powder that could ultimately prove to be more effective for patients and result in fewer complications."

A preliminary study on the safety of using a proprietary powder from Cook Medical, by Lau and colleagues, found it was beneficial in treating 95 per cent of patients with bleeding . A peptic ulcer is an oval sore that develops when the lining of the stomach or duodenum is eaten away by and . First-line treatment involves the use of an endoscope, or a flexible tube, inserted through the mouth into the and stomach, to treat and repair bleeding ulcers. This is often done by injecting drugs into a blood vessel at the ulcer base or clipping or sealing the ulcer with a probe that generates heat.

In the study, researchers administered the powder through the channel of an endoscope. The powder was applied to the ulcer in one to two short bursts until bleeding stopped. They found the bleeding was successfully stopped in 95 per cent of cases and there was no recurrent bleeding or complications 30 days after treatment. The preliminary findings suggest the powder has high success rates and, most importantly, the technique of applying the powder is simple.

The findings signal future potential uses of the hemostatic powder to treat bleeding ulcers. Dr. Lau's findings is one of many innovative research studies being shared with colleagues around the world through an international conference at the Four Season Hotel in Toronto hosted by endoscopy experts at St. Michael's Hospital.

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