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Effect of erythromycin before endoscopy in patients presenting with variceal bleeding: a prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.

Author(s): Altraif I, Handoo FA, Aljumah A, Alalwan A, Dafalla M, Saeed AM, Alkhormi A, Albekairy AK, Tamim H

Affiliation(s): Department of Clinical Pharmacy, King Abdul-Aziz Medical City, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Ibrahimtralf@yahoo.com

Publication date & source: 2011-02, Gastrointest Endosc., 73(2):245-50. Epub 2010 Dec 8.

Publication type: Comparative Study; Randomized Controlled Trial

BACKGROUND: Blood in the stomach and esophagus in patients with variceal bleeding often obscures the endoscopic view and makes endoscopic intervention difficult to perform. Erythromycin, a motilin agonist, induces gastric emptying. OBJECTIVE: To assess the effect of erythromycin on endoscopic visibility and its outcome in patients with variceal bleeding. DESIGN: Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. SETTING: Tertiary care hospital. PATIENTS: Adult patients with liver cirrhosis presenting with hematemesis within the previous 12 hours. INTERVENTION: Either 125 mg erythromycin or placebo administered intravenously 30 minutes before endoscopy. MAIN OUTCOME MEASUREMENTS: Endoscopic visibility during index endoscopy and mean duration of procedure. SECONDARY OUTCOME MEASUREMENTS: Need for repeat endoscopy and blood transfusions within 24 hours, endoscopy-related complications, and length of hospital stay. RESULTS: A total of 102 patients received either erythromycin or placebo (53 erythromycin and 49 placebo). Forty-seven patients in the erythromycin group and 43 in the placebo group had variceal bleeding and were considered for final analysis. A completely empty stomach was seen in 48.9% of the erythromycin group versus 23.3% of the placebo group (P<.01). Mean endoscopy duration was significantly shorter in the erythromycin group than in the placebo group (19.0 minutes vs 26.0 minutes, respectively; P<.005). Length of hospital stay was significantly shorter in the erythromycin group than in the placebo group (3.4 days vs 5.1 days, respectively; P<.002). The need for repeat endoscopy and the mean number of units of blood transfused did not differ significantly in the 2 groups. No adverse events were observed with erythromycin. LIMITATIONS: Sample size not sufficient to measure the need for repeat endoscopy and survival benefit. CONCLUSIONS: Erythromycin infusion before endoscopy in patients with variceal bleeding significantly improves endoscopic visibility and shortens the duration of the index endoscopy. (Clinical trial registration number: NCT01060267.). Copyright (c) 2011 American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy. Published by Mosby, Inc. All rights reserved.

Page last updated: 2011-12-09

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