Coffee ground vomitus appears similar to coffee grounds. This is likely to occur due to the presence of coagulated blood in the vomit. It is important to note that the color of the vomited blood varies depending on how long the blood was present in the GI tract. If there was a delay in vomiting, the blood appears dark brown, red or black. The presence of the clotted blood in the vomit makes it appear similar to coffee grounds.
Remember that having coffee ground vomitus is a serious condition and entails immediate medical care. Just make sure that you noted down the time and amount that was vomited and any factor that have triggered an episode. If possible, you must bring a sample of the vomit to the doctor for further testing.
What are the indications?
It is vital to seek medical care as soon as the individual starts to have coffee ground vomitus. Call for emergency assistance if the individual vomits blood or contains material similar to coffee grounds along with the following:
- Unusually pale skin or pallor
- Chest pain
- Severe abdominal pain
- Bright red blood or large-sized clots in the vomit
What are the causes of coffee ground vomitus?
Coffee ground vomitus can occur due to various conditions including gastritis, gastric ulcers or even esophageal varices linked to cirrhosis. If an individual experiences this symptom, it is vital to seek medical care right away so that an accurate diagnosis can be given.
The other possible causes of coffee ground vomitus include the following:
- Esophageal and stomach issues related to cirrhosis from viral hepatitis, alcohol abuse, fatty liver disease and autoimmune diseases
- Certain diseases such as Ebola virus infection, yellow fever or hemophilia B
- Cancer of the pancreas, esophagus or stomach
How is it diagnosed
Coffee ground vomitus is often an indication of GI tract bleeding. It is essential to set an appointment with a doctor for further testing. The doctor will ask about the symptoms, medications currently taking and other health conditions. After reviewing the medical history and performing a physical examination, the doctor will request one or several test to pinpoint the cause.
Aside from X-rays and baseline blood tests, other tests might be performed such as the following:
- Upper GI endoscopy
- Gastric occult blood testing
- Barium study
- Liver function studies
- Colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy
- Fecal occult blood testing