Abstract Background The Rockall score is used to assess the prognosis of patients with upper gastrointestinal bleeding. Aim To assess the applicability of the Rockall score in patients undergoing endoscopic therapy for upper gastrointestinal bleeding. Methods Retrospective evaluation of the Rockall score in the period 1995–2001. To evaluate the applicability of the Rockall system, two groups were created: group I (Rockall ≤ 5 points) and group II (Rockall ≥ 6 points). Results Two hundred and twenty-two patients were included. The median age of patients was 65 ± 17 years. Hypotension and associated diseases were present in 20 and 50% of patients, respectively. Re-bleeding occurred in 50 patients (23%) whose median score was 7, whereas the median score of patients without re-bleeding was 6 ( p = 0.14). There were 20 deaths (9%) with a median score of 8, whilst the median score of surviving patients was 6 ( p < 0.001). Sixteen patients in group I (18.4%) and 34 in group II (25.2%) re-bled ( p = 0.25). All the patients who died belong to group II with a Rockall score ≥ 6 (15% versus 0% in groups II and I, respectively, p < 0.001). Conclusion The Rockall score can be used in patients who undergo therapeutic endoscopy for upper gastrointestinal bleeding to identify those with high risk for mortality.