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Bleeding oesophageal varices: Therapeutic options

Author(s): Pavlović A.R. | Krstić M.N. | Đuranović S. | Popović D. | Jovanović I. | Ćulafić Đ. | Mijalković N.S. | Krstić S.N. | Milosavljević T. | Peško P.

Journal: Acta Chirurgica Iugoslavica
ISSN 0354-950X

Volume: 54;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 139;
Date: 2007;
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Keywords: esophageal varices | bleeding | therapy

Introduction: Emergency endoscopy plays the most important role in diagnosis and treatment of patients with esophageal variceal bleeding. Endoscopic sclerotherapy (EST), placement of esophageal band ligatures (EVL), medicamentous treatment using somatostatin and its derivatives and balloon tamponade are the methods most frequently applied in treatment of the bleeding esophageal varices. Patients and methods: Endoscopic reports on the patients with bleeding esophageal and gastric varices were retrospectively analyzed in the emergency unit of the Clinic of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Clinical Center of Serbia over the five-year period - since January 2001 till December 2005. Results: The total of approximately 3, 954 emergency upper endoscopies were performed due to the upper gastrointestinal tract bleeding. Out of the total number of patients, bleeding was diagnosed in 324 (8.2%) patients due to the esophageal varices. In the group of patients with bleeding esophageal varices, the total of 252 (77.8%) males and 72 (22.2%) females averagely aged 56.8+7.5 years (range 24 - 80 years) were examined. The primary sclerosant therapy with absolute alcohol was applied in 118 (36.4%) patients, while Blakemore probe tamponade was performed in 145 (44.8%) patients with bleeding esophageal varices. The total of 240 (74.1%) patientswere treated with vasoactive substances (somatostatin and its analogues), as additional therapy and control of the primary hemostasis. It was evidenced that out of 118 patients intra and paravariceally treated with the sclerosant agent (absolute alcohol) hemostasis was achieved in 47 (39.8%). Out of 145 patients subjected to Blakemore probe placement, bleeding was successfully arrested in 117 (80.7%) patients. Somatostatin and its analogues as primary and only treatment of the bleeding esophageal varices were applied in 71 (29.6%) patients, while in the remaining 169 (70.4%) patients, they were applied as additional therapy to the endoscopic sclerotherapy and mechanical treatment of bleeding. Out of 71 patients treated with somatostatin preparations as the only therapeutic option, 45 (63.4%) responded positively by arrest of bleeding for 72 hours. Conclusion: Treatment of the acute bleeding esophageal varices is focused on the arrest of bleeding, prevention of early recurrent bleeding and reduction of mortality. Based on the most recent studies, efficacy of the modern endoscopic therapy in the form of sclerotherapy and band ligature placement, as well as application of vasoactive substances reaches up to 90%. Our results evidence minimal efficacy of the sclerotherapy (approximately 40%), which indicates the need of better preparation of patients for the intervention itself and additional education of the personnel.
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