Gastrointestinal Emergency Treatment

Treatment for a GI tract emergency depends on the condition. Treatment may involve intravenous (IV) fluids and medications, drainage of digestive contents (e.g., nasogastric tube, gastric lavage), blood transfusion, and surgery.

Delaying treatment for a gastrointestinal emergency can lead to severe complications and death. Complications include the following:

  • Changes in heart rate (e.g., tachycardia)
  • Dehydration (excessive fluid loss; signs include dark-colored urine, fatigue, lethargy, headache, and fever)
  • Low blood pressure (hypotension)
  • Fainting (syncope; caused by reduced blood flow to the brain)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Shock (insufficient blood flow)

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 28 Feb 2008

Last Modified: 17 Sep 2015