Barbara Bush perforated ulcer


Barbara Bush was just hospitalized with a “perforated ulcer.”  Is this a life threatening condition?


Absolutely!  Peptic ulcer disease is inflammation, ulceration, and usually excessive acid in the upper digestive tract (stomach, duodenum, etc.).  A perforation, or hole, can occur when an ulcer becomes severe enough to erode through the wall of the stomach or intestine.  Then, intestinal contents can spill into the abdominal cavity.  This is very bad.  Patients often feel intense pain, and then can get an overwhelming infection.  Usually, surgery is recommended for immediate cleaning of the spilled intestinal contents and repair of the hole.  The sooner the condition is diagnosed, the better.  Older patients in particular are at high risk of death from perforation.

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