Variceal bleeding and portal hypertension: has there been any progress in the last 12 months?

Endoscopy. 2003 Feb;35(2):136-44. doi: 10.1055/s-2003-37020.


A review of the literature on the management of esophagogastric varices published in the last 12 months shows that the data are still quite conflicting. In the primary and secondary prophylaxis of variceal bleeding, beta-blockers are still the mainstay of pharmacotherapy. Measurement of the hepatic portal venous pressure gradient is considered to be a reliable parameter for successful reduction of portal pressure using medical therapy. However, intolerance of propranolol requiring discontinuation of therapy has been observed in approximately 30 % of patients. Patients' compliance with medication may represent another drawback of medical therapy. The role of endoscopic band ligation in secondary prophylaxis is now indisputable, especially in comparison with sclerotherapy. In the primary prevention of variceal bleeding, band ligation is beginning to have a competitive edge over pharmacological therapy. Acute variceal bleeding is no longer a frequent morbid emergency. Most cases of bleeding can now be managed successfully with band ligation and N-butyl-2-cyanoacrylate obliteration. N-butyl-2-cyanoacrylate has come into increasingly widespread use in the treatment of bleeding gastric fundal varices in which surgery or transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunting were previously regarded as the preferred therapies.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Enbucrilate / analogs & derivatives*
  • Enbucrilate / therapeutic use
  • Endoscopy, Digestive System
  • Endosonography
  • Esophageal and Gastric Varices / complications
  • Esophageal and Gastric Varices / diagnostic imaging
  • Esophageal and Gastric Varices / therapy*
  • Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage / therapy*
  • Hemostatics / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Hypertension, Portal / complications
  • Hypertension, Portal / diagnostic imaging
  • Hypertension, Portal / therapy*
  • Laser Coagulation
  • Octreotide / therapeutic use*
  • Portasystemic Shunt, Transjugular Intrahepatic
  • Tissue Adhesives / therapeutic use


  • Hemostatics
  • Tissue Adhesives
  • Enbucrilate
  • Octreotide