Efficacy of endoscopic treatments for acute esophageal variceal bleeding in cirrhotic patients: systematic review and meta-analysis

Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Santa Casa Hospital, Federal University of Health Sciences of Porto Alegre (UFCSPA), Porto Alegre, Brazil. Department of Internal Medicine, Santa Casa Hospital/Federal University of Health Sciences of Porto Alegre (UFCSPA), Porto Alegre, Brazil. Department of Public Health, Federal University of Health Sciences of Porto Alegre (UFCSPA), Porto Alegre, Brazil.

Endoscopy international open. 2019;7(11):E1503-e1514
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Abstract
Background and aim Guidelines recommend use of ligation and vasoactive drugs as first-line therapy and as grade A evidence for acute variceal bleeding (AVB), although Western studies about this issue are lacking. Methods We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCT) to evaluate the efficacy of endoscopic treatments for AVB in patients with cirrhosis. Trials that included patients with hepatocellular carcinoma, use of portocaval shunts or esophageal resection, balloon tamponade as first bleeding control measure, or that received placebo or elective treatment in one study arm were excluded. Results A total of 8382 publications were searched, of which 36 RCTs with 3593 patients were included. Ligation was associated with a significant improvement in bleeding control (relative risk [RR] 1.08; 95 % confidence interval [CI] 1.02 - 1.15) when compared to sclerotherapy. Sclerotherapy combined with vasoactive drugs showed higher efficacy in active bleeding control compared to sclerotherapy alone (RR 1.17; 95 % CI 1.10 - 1.25). The combination of ligation and vasoactive drugs was not superior to ligation alone in terms of overall rebleeding (RR 2.21; 95 %CI 0.55 - 8.92) and in-hospital mortality (RR 1.97; 95 %CI 0.78 - 4.97). Other treatments did not generate meta-analysis. Conclusions This study showed that ligation is superior to sclerotherapy, although with moderate heterogeneity. The combination of sclerotherapy and vasoactive drugs was more effective than sclerotherapy alone. Although current guidelines recommend combined use of ligation with vasoactive drugs in treatment of esophageal variceal bleeding, this study failed to demonstrate the superiority of this combined treatment.
Study details
Study Design : Systematic Review
Language : eng
Credits : Bibliographic data from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine