Purpose: To compare the outcomes of embolotherapy and surgery as salvage therapy after therapeutic endoscopy failure in the treatment of upper gastrointestinal peptic ulcer bleeding.
Materials and methods: Retrospective analysis of 70 cases of refractory peptic upper gastrointestinal hemorrhage was performed. Thirty-one cases were managed with embolotherapy and 39 were managed surgically. Demographic variables, underlying conditions, clinical findings, endoscopic treatment, transfusion requirements before and after alternative therapeutic approach, length of hospital stay, and outcomes including recurrent bleeding, need for surgery after initial alternative treatment, and in-hospital death were recorded.
Results: Patients who received embolotherapy were older (75.2 years +/- 10.9 vs 63.3 years +/- 14.5; P <.001) and had greater incidences of heart disease (67.7% vs 20.5%; P <.001) and previous anticoagulation treatment (25.8% vs 5.1%; P =.018). There were no differences in the rest of the pretreatment variables. No differences were found between the embolotherapy and surgery groups in the incidence of recurrent bleeding (29% vs 23.1%), need for additional surgery (16.1% vs 30.8%), or death (25.8% vs 20.5).
Conclusions: The lack of differences between these two treatment alternatives, despite the more advanced age and greater prevalence of heart disease in the embolotherapy group, provides support for future prospective randomized studies aimed to evaluate the role of embolotherapy in the management of refractory peptic ulcer bleeding.