Prognostic indicators of successful endoscopic sclerotherapy for prevention of rebleeding from oesophageal varices in cirrhosis: A long-term cohort study

S. Madonia, G. D'Amico, M. Traina, G. Gatto, R. Virdone, N. Salamone, A. Licata, I. Tarantino, L. Pagliaro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background. Although band ligation is now recommended for prevention of rebleeding from oesophageal varices in cirrhosis, sclerotherapy is still widely used. Patients submitted to chronic sclerotherapy undergo several endoscopies and experience a large number of serious complications. However, long-term outcome is poorly defined. Aims. To assess the clinical course and prognostic indicators of patients undergoing chronic sclerotherapy for prevention of variceal rebleeding as a basis for future evaluation of long-term band ligation outcome. Methods. Prospective cohort study; prognostic analysis by the Cox proportional hazards model. Results. A total of 218 consecutive cirrhotic patients (37 Child class A, 154 B, 27 C) were enrolled in the study. Varices were obliterated in 139 (64%) patients in a mean of 5 (±2.6) sessions and recurred in 58/139 (41.7%) within one year. A total of 132 (60%) patients experienced 283 rebleeding episodes and 73 (33%) died. Bleeding from oesophageal ulcers was the most serious complication causing 14% of all rebleeding episodes. Significant prognostic indicators of sclerotherapy outcome were: Child-Pugh class for variceal obliteration; gastric varices and platelet count for recurrence of varices; failure to obliterate varices, variceal size and gastric varices for rebleeding; blood urea nitrogen and failure to obliterate varices for death. Presence of gastric varices was the only prognostic indicator for death in the 79 patients not achieving variceal obliteration. A mean of 10 endoscopies and of 6 hospital admissions were needed per each patient with an estimated cost of US$ 7154 per patient during the first two years of therapy. Conclusions. Sclerotherapy is a very demanding and costly treatment, and is associated with frequent and serious side-effects. The probability of treatment failure is significantly higher in Child C patients with gastric varices. Alternative treatments should be considered for these patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)782-791
Number of pages10
JournalDigestive and Liver Disease
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2000



  • Liver cirrhosis
  • Prognostic indicators
  • Sclerotherapy of oesophageal varices
  • Variceal bleeding

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology

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