Thromboelastography-Guided Therapy Enhances Patient Blood Management in Cirrhotic Patients: A Meta-analysis Based on Randomized Controlled Trials
Seminars in thrombosis and hemostasis. 2022
Patients with cirrhosis often have abnormal hemostasis, with increased risk of hemorrhage and thrombosis. Thromboelastography provides a rapid assessment of the coagulation status and can guide product transfusions in adult patients with cirrhosis. This study aimed to determine whether the use of thromboelastography in adult patients with cirrhosis decreases blood product use and impacts adverse events or mortality compared with standard practice. A registered (PROSPERO CRD42020192458) systematic review and meta-analysis was conducted for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) comparing thromboelastography-guided hemostatic management versus standard practice (control). Co-primary outcomes were the number of transfused platelet units and fresh frozen plasma (FFP) units. Secondary outcomes were mortality, adverse events, utilization of individual blood products, blood loss or excessive bleeding events, hospital/intensive care unit stay, and liver transplant/intervention outcomes. The search identified 260 articles, with five RCTs included in the meta-analysis. Platelet use was five times lower with thromboelastography versus the control, with a relative risk of 0.17 (95% confidence interval [CI]: [0.03-0.90]; p = 0.04), but FFP use did not differ significantly. Thromboelastography was associated with less blood product (p < 0.001), FFP + platelets (p < 0.001), and cryoprecipitate (p < 0.001) use. No differences were reported in bleeding rates or longer term mortality between groups, with the thromboelastography group having lower mortality at 7 days versus the control (relative risk [95% CI] = 0.52 [0.30-0.91]; p = 0.02). Thromboelastography-guided therapy in patients with cirrhosis enhances patient blood management by reducing use of blood products without increasing complications.
Patients with cirrhosis (5 studies, n= 302).
Thromboelastography-guided haemostatic management.
Standard coagulation testing (standard practice).
Platelet use was five times lower with thromboelastography vs. standard practice, with a relative risk of 0.17 (95% confidence interval [CI]: [0.03-0.90]), but fresh frozen plasma (FFP) use did not differ significantly. Thromboelastography was associated with less blood product, FFP + platelets, and cryoprecipitate use. No differences were reported in bleeding rates or longer-term mortality between groups, with the thromboelastography group having lower mortality at 7 days vs. standard practice (relative risk [95% CI] = 0.52 [0.30-0.91]).
Use of human albumin infusion in cirrhotic patients: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials
Hepatology international. 2022
BACKGROUND Human albumin infusion is effective for controlling systemic inflammation, thereby probably managing some liver cirrhosis-related complications, such as spontaneous bacterial peritonitis (SBP), hepatic encephalopathy (HE), and hepatorenal syndrome. However, its clinical benefits remain controversial. METHODS EMBASE, PubMed, and Cochrane Library databases were searched. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) regarding use of human albumin infusion in cirrhotic patients were eligible. Mortality and incidence of liver cirrhosis-related complications were pooled. Effect of human albumin infusion on mortality was also evaluated by subgroup analyses primarily according to target population and duration of human albumin infusion treatment. Odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated. RESULTS Forty-two RCTs were finally included. Meta-analysis showed that human albumin infusion could significantly decrease the mortality of cirrhotic patients (OR = 0.81, 95% CI = 0.67-0.98, p = 0.03). Subgroup analyses showed that human albumin infusion could significantly decrease the mortality of cirrhotic patients with SBP (OR = 0.36, 95% CI = 0.20-0.64, p = 0.0005) and HE (OR = 0.43, 95% CI = 0.22-0.85, p = 0.02), but not those with ascites or non-SBP infections or undergoing large-volume paracentesis. Short-term human albumin infusion treatment could significantly decrease short-term mortality (OR = 0.67, 95% CI = 0.50-0.89, p = 0.005), but not long-term mortality. Long-term human albumin infusion treatment could not significantly decrease long-term mortality (OR = 0.72, 95% CI = 0.48-1.08, p = 0.11). In addition, human albumin infusion could significantly decrease the incidence of renal impairment (OR = 0.63, 95% CI = 0.45-0.88, p = 0.007) and ascites (OR = 0.45, 95% CI = 0.25-0.81, p = 0.007), but not infections or gastrointestinal bleeding. CONCLUSIONS Human albumin infusion may improve the outcomes of cirrhotic patients. However, its indications for different complications and infusion strategy in liver cirrhosis should be further explored.
Systematic review and meta-analysis: incidence of variceal hemorrhage in patients with cirrhosis undergoing transesophageal echocardiography
Alimentary pharmacology & therapeutics. 2022
BACKGROUND The presence of esophageal varices is considered a relative contraindication to transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) by cardiology professional societies, so gastroenterologists are often consulted to perform upper endoscopy prior to TEE in patients with cirrhosis. AIM: To perform a systematic review to quantify the risk of bleeding complications in patients with cirrhosis following TEE. METHODS Two reviewers searched Ovid MEDLINE, MEDLINE In-Process and EMBASE databases from January 1992 to May 2021 for studies reporting bleeding complications from TEE in patients with cirrhosis. We calculated the pooled incidence rate of bleeding events using the metaprop command with a random effect model. RESULTS We identified 21 studies comprising 4050 unique patients with cirrhosis; 9 studies (n = 3015) assessed the risk of intraoperative TEE during liver transplant (LT) and 12 studies (n = 1035) assessed bleeding risk in patients undergoing TEE for other indications. The pooled incidence of bleeding post-TEE was 0.37% (95% CI 0.04-0.94%) across all studies. Bleeding complications were low among patients undergoing TEE during LT as well as those undergoing TEE for other diagnostic reasons (0.97% vs. 0.004%) and among studies with mean MELD >18 compared to those with mean MELD <18 (0.43% vs. 0.08%). Few studies had a comparator arm, and data on patient-level factors impacting bleeding complications (including degree of liver dysfunction and coagulopathy) were limited across studies. CONCLUSIONS The risk of bleeding complications following TEE is low in patients with cirrhosis, suggesting TEE is safe and risk stratification with upper endoscopy may not be necessary.
The efficacy and safety of thrombopoietin receptor agonists in patients with chronic liver disease undergoing elective procedures: a systematic review and meta-analysis
Thrombopoietin receptor agonists (TPO-RAs) can mitigate preprocedural thrombocytopenia in patients with chronic liver disease (CLD) however their effects on procedural outcomes is unclear. In this meta-analysis, we aimed to better define the efficacy, thrombotic risk and bleeding mitigation associated with the use of preoperative TPO-RAs in patients with CLD. We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized placebo-controlled clinical trials to assess the use of preprocedural TPO-RAs in patients with CLD, searching MEDLINE, EMBASE and the Cochrane library database. Six publications comprising eight randomized trials (1229 patients; 717 received TPO-RAs, 512 received placebo) and three unique TPO-RAs were retrieved. The majority of the included procedures were endoscopic. TPO-RAs were significantly more likely to result in a preoperative platelet count greater than 50 x 10(9)/L (72.1% vs 15.6%, RR 4.8, 95% CI 3.6-6.4 p < .00001. NNT 1.8) and reduced the incidence of platelet transfusions (22.5% vs 67.8%, RR 0.33, 95% CI 0.3-0.4 p < .00001. NNT 2.2). Total periprocedural bleeding was decreased in patients who received TPO-RAs (11.6% vs 15.6%, RR 0.64, 95% CI 0.5-0.9 p = .01. NNT 24.7) and there was no increase in the rate of thrombosis (2.2% vs 1.8% RR 1.25, 95% CI 0.6-2.9 p = .60. NNH 211.1). In patients with CLD the use of preprocedural TPO-RAs resulted in significant increased platelet counts, and decreased the incidence of platelet transfusions as compared to placebo. TPO use likewise decreased the incidence of total periprocedural bleeding without increasing the rate of thrombosis.
Efficacy and safety of albumin infusion for overt hepatic encephalopathy: A systematic review and meta-analysis
Digestive and liver disease : official journal of the Italian Society of Gastroenterology and the Italian Association for the Study of the Liver. 2021
BACKGROUND AND AIMS The efficacy and safety of albumin infusion for treatment and prevention of overt hepatic encephalopathy (OHE) among cirrhosis patients remained controversial. We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis to evaluate the benefit of albumin infusion for the treatment and prevention of OHE. METHODS We performed a systematic search of 4 electronic databases up to 31st January 2021. The primary outcome was the resolution of OHE. Secondary outcomes were inpatient mortality and albumin-associated adverse events. We assessed the pooled odds' risk, pooled mean differences, 95% confidence interval and heterogeneity using Review Manager Version 5.3. RESULTS A total of 12 studies (2,087 subjects) were identified. Among cirrhosis patients with OHE, albumin infusion was associated with a lower pooled risk of OHE (OR=0.43, 95%CI: 0.27, 0.68; I(2)=0%). Among patients without baseline OHE, albumin infusion was associated with a lower pooled risk of developing OHE (OR=0.53, 95%CI: 0.32, 0.86; I(2)=62%). Albumin infusion was associated with a lower pooled risk of inpatient mortality (OR=0.36, 95%CI: 0.21, 0.60; I(2)=0%). CONCLUSION Well-powered randomized trials are required to confirm the benefits of albumin infusion for the prevention and treatment of overt hepatic encephalopathy among decompensated cirrhosis patients.
Terlipressin effect on hepatorenal syndrome: Updated meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials
JGH open : an open access journal of gastroenterology and hepatology. 2021;5(8):896-901
BACKGROUND AND AIM Hepatorenal syndrome (HRS) is a fatal complication of liver cirrhosis with a limited pharmacological option. Terlipressin is a vasoconstrictor that is approved in many countries but not yet in the United States. This is a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) to review terlipressin effect on HRS and the safety profile. METHODS We searched electronic databases for RCTs comparing terlipressin versus placebo in addition to albumin in patients with type 1 or 2 HRS. Primary outcome was HRS reversal. Secondary outcomes were change in serum creatinine (Cr), requirement for renal replacement therapy (RRT) at 30 days of randomization, and 90-day survival. Risk ratios (RRs) and mean differences (MD) were calculated with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) using a random-effects model. RESULTS We identified eight RCTs with a total of 974 patients, and median follow up of 100 days. Mean age was 55 ± 10 years, 61% were males. Alcoholic liver disease represented 56%. Compared with placebo, terlipressin was associated with a significantly higher likelihood of HRS reversal (RR 2.08; 95% CI [1.51, 2.86], P < 0.001), significantly lower serum Cr (MD -0.64; 95% CI (-1.02, -0.27), P < 0.001], and a trend toward less RRT requirements (RR 0.61; 95% CI [0.36, 1.02], P = 0.06). There was no difference in survival at 90 days between groups (RR 1.09; 95% CI (0.84, 1.43), P = 0.52). Major adverse effects (AEs) were gastrointestinal cramps, discomfort, and respiratory distress. CONCLUSION In patients with liver cirrhosis complicated by HRS, terlipressin was associated with significant HRS reversal and decrease in serum Cr. No survival benefit was detected at 90 days.
Vasoactive Agents for the Management of Acute Variceal Bleeding: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis
Journal of gastrointestinal and liver diseases : JGLD. 2021;30(1):110-121
BACKGROUND AND AIMS Vasoactive agents with endoscopic therapy are used to treat acute variceal bleeding (AVB). There are two main groups of vasoactive agents: terlipressin and vasopressin (T-V), and octreotide and somatostatin (O-S). However, the benefit/harm balance is unclear. Our aim was to assess the efficacy and safety of T-V versus O-S for the management of AVB. METHODS We performed a systematic search for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) in PubMed, Scopus, and CENTRAL. Our main outcomes were mortality and adverse events. Secondary outcomes were bleeding control, rebleeding, blood transfusion, hospital stay. We evaluated the certainty of evidence using GRADE methodology. RESULTS We included 21 RCTs. The risk of mortality (RR: 1.01; 95%CI: 0.83-1.22), bleeding control (RR: 0.96; 95%CI: 0.91-1.02; I 2 =53%), early rebleeding (RR: 0.91; 95%CI: 0.66-1.24: I 2 =0%), late rebleeding (RR: 0.94; 95 CI: 0.56-1.60; I 2 =0%), blood transfusion (MD: 0.04; 95%CI: -0.31-0.39; I 2 =68%) and hospital stay (MD: -1.06; 95%CI: -2.80-0.69; I 2 =0%) were similar between T-V and O-S groups. Only 15 studies reported adverse events, which were significantly higher in the T-V compared to the O-S group (RR 2.39; 95%CI: 1.58-3.63; I 2 =57%). The certainty of evidence was moderate for the main outcomes, and low or very low for others. CONCLUSIONS In cirrhotic patients with AVB, those treated with T-V had similar mortality risk compared to O-S. However, the use of T-V showed an increased risk of adverse events compared to O-S.
Band ligation versus sham or no intervention for primary prophylaxis of oesophageal variceal bleeding in children and adolescents with chronic liver disease or portal vein thrombosis
The Cochrane database of systematic reviews. 2021;1:Cd011561
BACKGROUND Portal hypertension commonly accompanies advanced liver disease and often gives rise to life-threatening complications, including bleeding (haemorrhage) from oesophageal and gastrointestinal varices. Variceal bleeding commonly occurs in children and adolescents with chronic liver disease or portal vein thrombosis. Prevention is, therefore, important. Randomised clinical trials have shown that non-selective beta-blockers and endoscopic variceal band ligation decrease the incidence of variceal bleeding in adults. In children and adolescents, band ligation, beta-blockers, and sclerotherapy have been proposed as primary prophylaxis alternatives for oesophageal variceal bleeding. However, it is unknown whether these interventions are of benefit or harm when used for primary prophylaxis in children and adolescents. OBJECTIVES To assess the benefits and harms of band ligation compared with sham or no intervention for primary prophylaxis of oesophageal variceal bleeding in children and adolescents with chronic liver disease or portal vein thrombosis. SEARCH METHODS We searched the Cochrane Hepato-Biliary Group Controlled Trials Register, CENTRAL, PubMed, Embase, and two other databases (April 2020). We scrutinised the reference lists of the retrieved publications, and we also handsearched abstract books of the two main paediatric gastroenterology and hepatology conferences from January 2008 to December 2019. We also searched clinicaltrials.gov, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the European Medicines Agency (EMA), and the World Health Organization (WHO) for ongoing clinical trials. We imposed no language or document type restrictions on our search. SELECTION CRITERIA We aimed to include randomised clinical trials irrespective of blinding, language, or publication status, to assess the benefits and harms of band ligation versus sham or no intervention for primary prophylaxis of oesophageal variceal bleeding in children with chronic liver disease or portal vein thrombosis. If the search for randomised clinical trials retrieved quasi-randomised and other observational studies, then we read them through to extract information on harm. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS We used standard Cochrane methodology to perform this systematic review. We used GRADE to assess the certainty of evidence for each outcome. Our primary outcomes were all-cause mortality, serious adverse events and liver-related morbidity, and quality of life. Our secondary outcomes were oesophageal variceal bleeding and adverse events not considered serious. We used the intention-to-treat principle. We analysed data using Review Manager 5. MAIN RESULTS One conference abstract, describing a feasibility multi-centre randomised clinical trial, fulfilled our review inclusion criteria. We judged the trial at overall high risk of bias. This trial was conducted in three hospital centres in the United Kingdom. The aim of the trial was to determine the feasibility and safety of further larger randomised clinical trials of prophylactic band ligation versus no active treatment in children with portal hypertension and large oesophageal varices. Twelve children received prophylactic band ligation and 10 children received no active treatment. There was no information on the age of the children included, or about the diagnosis of any child included. All children were followed up for at least six months. Mortality was 8% (1/12) in the band ligation group versus 0% (0/10) in the no active intervention group (risk ratio (RR) 2.54, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.11 to 56.25; very low certainty of evidence). The abstract did not report when the death occurred, but we assume it happened between the six-month follow-up and one year. No child (0%) in the band ligation group developed adverse events (RR 0.28, 95% CI 0.01 to 6.25; very low certainty of evidence) but one child out of 10 (10%) in the no active intervention group developed idiopathic thrombocytopaenic purpura. One child out of 12 (8%) in the band ligation group underwent liver transplantation versus none in the no active intervention group (0%) (RR 2.54, 95% CI 0.11 to 56.25; very low certainty of evidence). The trial reported no other serious adverse events or liver-related morbidity. Quality of life was not reported. Oesophageal variceal bleeding occurred in 8% (1/12) of the children in the band ligation group versus 30% (3/10) of the children in the no active intervention group (RR 0.28, 95% CI 0.03 to 2.27; very low certainty of evidence). No adverse events considered non-serious were reported. Two children were lost to follow-up by one-year. Ten children in total completed the trial at two-year follow-up. There was no information on funding. We found two observational studies on endoscopic variceal ligation when searching for randomised trials. One found no harm, and the other reported E nterobacter cloacae septicaemia in one child and mild, transient, upper oesophageal sphincter stenosis in another. We did not assess these studies for risk of bias. We did not find any ongoing randomised clinical trials of interest to our review. AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS The evidence, obtained from only one feasibility randomised clinical trial at high risk of bias, is very scanty. It is very uncertain about whether prophylactic band ligation versus sham or no (active) intervention may affect mortality, serious adverse events and liver-related morbidity, or oesophageal variceal bleeding in children and adolescents with portal hypertension and large oesophageal varices. We have no data on quality of life. No adverse events considered non-serious were reported. The results presented in the trial need to be interpreted with caution. In addition, the highly limited data cover only part of our research question; namely, children with portal hypertension and large oesophageal varices. Data on children with portal vein thrombosis are lacking. Larger randomised clinical trials assessing the benefits and harms of band ligation compared with sham treatment for primary prophylaxis of oesophageal variceal bleeding in children and adolescents with chronic liver disease or portal vein thrombosis are needed. The trials should include important clinical outcomes such as death, quality of life, failure to control bleeding, and adverse events.
Albumin in the management of hepatic encephalopathy: a systematic review and meta-analysis
Annals of hepatology. 2021;:100541
INTRODUCTION AND OBJECTIVES It has been suggested that albumin administration could alter the natural history of cirrhosis, and also, that long-term treatment with albumin might be associated with improvement in survival, control of ascites, reduction in the incidence bacterial infections, renal dysfunction, hepatic encephalopathy (HE) and hyponatremia, as well as reduction in length of hospitalization in patients with cirrhosis and ascites. The objective of the present study is to evaluate the role of albumin in the management of HE. MATERIALS AND METHODS This is a systematic review of randomized controlled trials that evaluated the use of albumin in adult patients with cirrhosis and HE. The search for eligible studies was performed in MEDLINE, EMBASE, and Cochrane CENTRAL databases until June 2020. The outcomes of interest were the complete reversal of HE and mortality. Meta-analysis was performed using the random effects model, through the Mantel-Haenszel method. RESULTS This systematic review was registered at the PROSPERO platform (CRD42020194181). The search strategy retrieved 1,118 articles. After reviewing titles and abstracts, 24 studies were considered potentially eligible, but 22 were excluded after full-text analysis. Finally, 2 studies were included. In the meta-analysis, albumin was associated to significant lower risks of persistent HE (risk ratio - RR=0.60; 95% confidence interval - CI=0.38-0.95, p=0.03) and mortality (RR=0.54; 95% CI=0.33-0.90, p=0.02). CONCLUSION Albumin administration improves HE and reduces mortality in patients with cirrhosis and HE.
Patients with cirrhosis and hepatic encephalopathy (HE), (2 studies, n= 176).
Albumin or lactulose plus albumin (n= 86).
Saline solution or lactulose alone (n= 90).
In the meta-analysis, albumin was associated to significant lower risks of persistent HE (risk ratio - RR=0.60) and mortality (RR=0.54).
Primary prevention of variceal bleeding in people with oesophageal varices due to liver cirrhosis: a network meta-analysis
The Cochrane database of systematic reviews. 2021;4:Cd013121
BACKGROUND Approximately 40% to 95% of people with cirrhosis have oesophageal varices. About 15% to 20% of oesophageal varices bleed in about one to three years. There are several different treatments to prevent bleeding, including: beta-blockers, endoscopic sclerotherapy, and variceal band ligation. However, there is uncertainty surrounding their individual and relative benefits and harms. OBJECTIVES To compare the benefits and harms of different treatments for prevention of first variceal bleeding from oesophageal varices in adults with liver cirrhosis through a network meta-analysis and to generate rankings of the different treatments for prevention of first variceal bleeding from oesophageal varices according to their safety and efficacy. SEARCH METHODS We searched CENTRAL, MEDLINE, Embase, Science Citation Index Expanded, World Health Organization International Clinical Trials Registry Platform, and trials registers to December 2019 to identify randomised clinical trials in people with cirrhosis and oesophageal varices with no history of bleeding. SELECTION CRITERIA We included only randomised clinical trials (irrespective of language, blinding, or status) in adults with cirrhosis and oesophageal varices with no history of bleeding. We excluded randomised clinical trials in which participants had previous bleeding from oesophageal varices and those who had previously undergone liver transplantation or previously received prophylactic treatment for oesophageal varices. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS We performed a network meta-analysis with OpenBUGS using Bayesian methods and calculated the differences in treatments using hazard ratios (HR), odds ratios (OR), and rate ratios with 95% credible intervals (CrI) based on an available-case analysis, according to National Institute for Health and Care Excellence Decision Support Unit guidance. We performed the direct comparisons from randomised clinical trials using the same codes and the same technical details. MAIN RESULTS We included 66 randomised clinical trials (6653 participants) in the review. Sixty trials (6212 participants) provided data for one or more comparisons in the review. The trials that provided the information included people with cirrhosis due to varied aetiologies and those at high risk of bleeding from oesophageal varices. The follow-up in the trials that reported outcomes ranged from 6 months to 60 months. All but one of the trials were at high risk of bias. The interventions compared included beta-blockers, no active intervention, variceal band ligation, sclerotherapy, beta-blockers plus variceal band ligation, beta-blockers plus nitrates, nitrates, beta-blockers plus sclerotherapy, and portocaval shunt. Overall, 21.2% of participants who received non-selective beta-blockers ('beta-blockers') - the reference treatment (chosen because this was the most common treatment compared in the trials) - died during 8-month to 60-month follow-up. Based on low-certainty evidence, beta-blockers, variceal band ligation, sclerotherapy, and beta-blockers plus nitrates all had lower mortality versus no active intervention (beta-blockers: HR 0.49, 95% CrI 0.36 to 0.67; direct comparison HR: 0.59, 95% CrI 0.42 to 0.83; 10 trials, 1200 participants; variceal band ligation: HR 0.51, 95% CrI 0.35 to 0.74; direct comparison HR 0.49, 95% CrI 0.12 to 2.14; 3 trials, 355 participants; sclerotherapy: HR 0.66, 95% CrI 0.51 to 0.85; direct comparison HR 0.61, 95% CrI 0.41 to 0.90; 18 trials, 1666 participants; beta-blockers plus nitrates: HR 0.41, 95% CrI 0.20 to 0.85; no direct comparison). No trials reported health-related quality of life. Based on low-certainty evidence, variceal band ligation had a higher number of serious adverse events (number of events) than beta-blockers (rate ratio 10.49, 95% CrI 2.83 to 60.64; 1 trial, 168 participants). Based on low-certainty evidence, beta-blockers plus nitrates had a higher number of 'any adverse events (number of participants)' than beta-blockers alone (OR 3.41, 95% CrI 1.11 to 11.28; 1 trial, 57 participants). Based on low-certainty evidence, adverse events (number of events) were higher in sclerotherapy than in beta-blockers (rate ratio 2.49, 95% CrI 1.53 to 4.22; direct comparison rate ratio 2.47, 95% CrI 1.27 to 5.06; 2 trials, 90 participants), and in beta-blockers plus variceal band ligation than in beta-blockers (direct comparison rate ratio 1.72, 95% CrI 1.08 to 2.76; 1 trial, 140 participants). Based on low-certainty evidence, any variceal bleed was lower in beta-blockers plus variceal band ligation than in beta-blockers (direct comparison HR 0.21, 95% CrI 0.04 to 0.71; 1 trial, 173 participants). Based on low-certainty evidence, any variceal bleed was higher in nitrates than beta-blockers (direct comparison HR 6.40, 95% CrI 1.58 to 47.42; 1 trial, 52 participants). The evidence indicates considerable uncertainty about the effect of the interventions in the remaining comparisons. AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS Based on low-certainty evidence, beta-blockers, variceal band ligation, sclerotherapy, and beta-blockers plus nitrates may decrease mortality compared to no intervention in people with high-risk oesophageal varices in people with cirrhosis and no previous history of bleeding. Based on low-certainty evidence, variceal band ligation may result in a higher number of serious adverse events than beta-blockers. The evidence indicates considerable uncertainty about the effect of beta-blockers versus variceal band ligation on variceal bleeding. The evidence also indicates considerable uncertainty about the effect of the interventions in most of the remaining comparisons.