How does occult gastrointestinal bleeding differ from overt GI bleeding

What is occult gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding and how does it differ from overt GI bleeding? 

Occult GI bleeding is microscopic blood loss from the GI tract that is not overtly or grossly apparent. It is typically detected by a guaiac test or fecal immunologic test (FIT). 

Overtly apparent GI bleeding includes the following:

• Hematemesis: bright red or “coffee grounds”

• Melena

• Bright red blood per rectum

• Burgundy stools

• Bloody diarrhea


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