Endoscopic band ligation versus propranolol for the primary prophylaxis of variceal bleeding in cirrhotic patients with high risk esophageal varices.
Author(s): Perez-Ayuso RM, Valderrama S, Espinoza M, Rollan A, Sanchez R, Otarola F, Medina B, Riquelme A
Affiliation(s): Department of Gastroenterology, Facultad de Medicina Pontifica Universidad Catolica de Chile, Santiago, Chile. firstname.lastname@example.org
Publication date & source: 2010-01, Ann Hepatol., 9(1):15-22.
Publication type: Randomized Controlled Trial
BACKGROUND: Gastroesophageal variceal bleeding is a common complication of portal hypertension. Current guidelines recommend thorn-blockers for primary prophylaxis. However, evidence suggests that endoscopic variceal ligation (EVL) reduce bleeding episodes. AIMS: To compare endoscopic EVL with propranolol (PPL) for primary prophylaxis of variceal bleeding. METHODS: We conducted a randomized controlled trial. Over a 9-year period, 75 patients with cirrhosis and high-risk esophageal varices (HREV) were recruited and allocated to EVL (n=39) or PPL (n=36). Primary outcome was variceal bleeding. Secondary outcomes were survival, source of bleeding and serious adverse events. Analyses were made by intention-to-treat. RESULTS: Baseline characteristics were similar. Medium follow-up was 1647+/-1096 days. complete follow-up was achieved in 85% of patients. Variceal bleeding occurred in 12% of EVL and in 25% of PPL group (p=0.17). The actuarial risks of bleeding after 2 years were similar in both groups. Overall mortality was 51% in EVL and 33% in PPL group (p=0.17). Patients in the EVL group showed a lower rate of esophageal variceal bleeding (5.1% v/s 25%, p=0.027) and a higher rate of subcardial variceal bleeding compared with PPL group (7.7% v/s 0%, p=0.027). Serious adverse events related to EVL occurred in 2 patients, including 1 death. CONCLUSIONS: The present study supports that PPL should be considered the first choice in primary prophylaxis of variceal bleeding offering similar effects and lower severe adverse events compared with EVL.