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Acute management of bleeding oesophageal varices.

Burroughs, AK; (1992) Acute management of bleeding oesophageal varices. Drugs , 44 Sup pp. 14-23.

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The goals of therapy in acute variceal bleeding are to arrest haemorrhage and to prevent deterioration of liver function and complications related to bleeding. The measures used to stop acute bleeding should, ideally, also prevent the very early rebleeding that is frequently seen with bleeding varices. Variceal bleeding should be managed by a gastrointestinal bleeding team with intensive nursing care. Diagnostic endoscopy is mandatory once initial resuscitation has been achieved, and allows immediate injection sclerotherapy of varices. Drug therapy can be used as the first treatment in patients admitted with variceal bleeding since it can be given immediately. Of the available drugs, somatostatin has the least side effects and is as effective as vasopressin, terlipressin and the combination of vasopressin and an organic nitrate vasodilator. The role of drugs needs to be studied in combination with sclerotherapy. Sclerotherapy remains the mainstay of management as it achieves the twin goals of stopping active bleeding and preventing early rebleeding. Injection of tissue adhesive and endoscopic ligation or 'banding' are new endoscopic techniques that have shown promise in preliminary trials and are currently being assessed more widely. Balloon tamponade is a temporary measure used to prevent exsanguination. Surgery should be reserved for those patients in whom sclerotherapy is unsuccessful or cannot be carried out. Oesophageal staple transection is the most used operation. The new interventional radiological technique of transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunting will probably replace surgery in the future, but its role in acute variceal bleeding has yet to be fully defined.

Type: Article
Title: Acute management of bleeding oesophageal varices.
Location: New Zealand
Keywords: Acute Disease, Animals, Balloon Occlusion, Catheterization, Drug Therapy, Combination, Esophageal and Gastric Varices, Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage, Lypressin, Nitroglycerin, Sclerotherapy, Somatostatin, Vasopressins
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/493696
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