Upper digestive bleeding in cirrhosis. Post-therapeutic outcome and prognostic indicators

Hepatology. 2003 Sep;38(3):599-612. doi: 10.1053/jhep.2003.50385.


Several treatments have been proven to be effective for variceal bleeding in patients with cirrhosis. The aim of this multicenter, prospective, cohort study was to assess how these treatments are used in clinical practice and what are the posttherapeutic prognosis and prognostic indicators of upper digestive bleeding in patients with cirrhosis. A training set of 291 and a test set of 174 bleeding cirrhotic patients were included. Treatment was according to the preferences of each center and the follow-up period was 6 weeks. Predictive rules for 5-day failure (uncontrolled bleeding, rebleeding, or death) and 6-week mortality were developed by the logistic model in the training set and validated in the test set. Initial treatment controlled bleeding in 90% of patients, including vasoactive drugs in 27%, endoscopic therapy in 10%, combined (endoscopic and vasoactive) in 45%, balloon tamponade alone in 1%, and none in 17%. The 5-day failure rate was 13%, 6-week rebleeding was 17%, and mortality was 20%. Corresponding findings for variceal versus nonvariceal bleeding were 15% versus 7% (P =.034), 19% versus 10% (P =.019), and 20% versus 15% (P =.22). Active bleeding on endoscopy, hematocrit levels, aminotransferase levels, Child-Pugh class, and portal vein thrombosis were significant predictors of 5-day failure; alcohol-induced etiology, bilirubin, albumin, encephalopathy, and hepatocarcinoma were predictors of 6-week mortality. Prognostic reassessment including blood transfusions improved the predictive accuracy. All the developed prognostic models were superior to the Child-Pugh score. In conclusion, prognosis of digestive bleeding in cirrhosis has much improved over the past 2 decades. Initial treatment stops bleeding in 90% of patients. Accurate predictive rules are provided for early recognition of high-risk patients.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Balloon Occlusion
  • Catheterization
  • Cohort Studies
  • Endoscopy, Digestive System
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage / etiology*
  • Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage / mortality
  • Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage / surgery
  • Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage / therapy
  • Hematocrit
  • Humans
  • Liver Cirrhosis / complications*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Octreotide / therapeutic use
  • Portal Vein
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Recurrence
  • Somatostatin / therapeutic use
  • Transaminases / blood
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Venous Thrombosis / etiology


  • Somatostatin
  • Transaminases
  • Octreotide