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Primary prevention of portal hypertensive bleeding in cirrhosis

Vlachogiannakos, J; Burroughs, AK; (2001) Primary prevention of portal hypertensive bleeding in cirrhosis. Annals of Gastroenterology , 14 (3) pp. 166-177. Gold open access


Variceal bleeding due to portal hypertension represents the major complication that develops in patients with cirrhosis of the liver. The mortality of the first bleeding episode is still very high, so that primary prophylaxis to prevent bleeding from varices and portal hypertensive gastropathy is the current optimal therapeutic approach. The difficulty in identifying individual patients with varices who will bleed before they do so, can justify a strategy of prophylactic treatment for all patients with varices. We have evaluated the different therapies that have been assessed in randomized controlled trials for prevention of first bleeding, using meta-analysis where applicable. The current treatment of first choice is non-selective b-blockers; it is cheap, easy to administer, and is effective in preventing the first variceal hemmorrhage and bleeding from gastric mucosa. Combination drug therapy of β-blockers and nitrates probably gives little added advantage. Injection sclerotherapy is contraindicated. The conflicting results of the randomized studies of endoscopic banding ligation (EBL), as well as the cost, do not warrant its use at present. However, EBL may be a reasonable alternative for patients who cannot tolerate, or have contraindications to β-blockers or no haemodynamic response to the drug therapy, but this must be proved in randomized trials.

Type: Article
Title: Primary prevention of portal hypertensive bleeding in cirrhosis
Open access status: An open access publication
UCL classification: UCL > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/468563
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