Comparison of Therapies for Secondary Prophylaxis of Esophageal Variceal Bleeding in Cirrhosis: a Network Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials

Zhangjiagang TCM Hospital Affiliated to Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine, Zhangjiagang, 215600, China. Affiliated Hospital of Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine, Nanjing, 210029, China. Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine, Nanjing, 210046, China. Changshu Hospital Affiliated to Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine, Changshu, 215500, China. Changshu Hospital Affiliated to Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine, Changshu, 215500, China. Electronic address:

Clin Ther. 2020
PURPOSE The decision regarding the optimal secondary prophylactic treatment for esophageal variceal bleeding (EVB) in hepatic cirrhosis is controversial. A network meta-analysis was conducted to assess the benefits of various treatments for the secondary prophylaxis of EVB in patients with cirrhosis. METHODS A thorough examination of databases, including EMBASE, PubMed, and Cochrane Database of Controlled Trials, was conducted to identify relevant randomized controlled trials up to December 2019. Key primary outcomes included mortality and rebleeding. Within the identified databases, a network meta-analysis was performed. Results were expressed by using a 95% credible interval (CrI) and odds ratios (ORs). The quality of results was assessed by using the Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluation approach. FINDINGS Forty-eight trials with 4415 participants with cirrhosis and portal hypertension who had a history of recent variceal bleeding were included. Carvedilol ranked first (surface under the cumulative ranking curve [SUCRA], 87.4%) in overall survival, and some advantage was suggested; however, the findings were not statistically significant, compared with endoscopic variceal ligation + nonselective beta-blockers (NSBB) (OR, 0.59; CrI, 0.28, 1.3), NSBB + isosorbide mononitrate (OR, 0.67; CrI, 0.33, 1.4), and transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS) (OR, 0.52; CrI, 0.24, 1.1). NSBB + isosorbide mononitrate (SUCRA, 63.9%) ranked higher than NSBB + endoscopic variceal ligation (SUCRA, 49.6%) in reducing mortality. TIPS (SUCRA, 98.8%) ranked higher than other treatments in reducing rebleeding but did not confer any survival benefit. IMPLICATIONS TIPS ranks first in preventing rebleeding of secondary prophylaxis of EVB and carvedilol shows outstanding efficacy in improving survival. International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews: identifier CRD42019131814.
Study details
Study Design : Systematic Review
Language : eng
Credits : Bibliographic data from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine