Background and study aims: The obliteration of esophageal and/or gastric varices using Histoacryl is highly effective in controlling active bleeding. However, it is not known whether repeated injections are useful for the long-term eradication of esophagogastric varices. The aim of the study was to compare endoscopic Histoacryl obliteration with propranolol in the secondary prevention of esophagogastric variceal bleeding.
Patients and methods: Between August 1995 and February 1999, 41 patients with a first bleeding from esophageal (n = 31) or gastric (n = 10) varices were included in the study. After primary hemostasis with obliteration using Histoacryl, patients were randomly allocated either to undergo complete Histoacryl obliteration of the remaining varices (group A, n = 21) or to long-term propranolol administration (group B, n = 20), for the prevention of rebleeding.
Results: The two groups were well matched for age, sex, etiology of cirrhosis, Child-Pugh score, renal function, and infection at the time of admission. The median follow-up was 31.9 months (4.8 - 74.7) for group A and 23.2 months (3.0 - 70.0) for group B. Initial hemostasis was achieved in 40/41 patients (97 %). No significant difference was observed between groups A and B with regard to the incidence of early rebleeding (during the first 6 weeks; 5/21 and 3/20), bleeding-related deaths by 6 weeks (3/21 and 6/20), long-term rebleeding (11/21 and 5/20), or overall number of deaths (9/21 and 9/20). The incidence of complications was higher in group A (10/21) than group B (2/20) (P < 0.03).
Conclusions: Repeated injections of Histoacryl with the aim of eradicating esophagogastric varices are associated with more complications compared with beta-blocker administration, with similar results in terms of rebleeding rate and survival in the long term.