Review article: recent advances in the management of bleeding gastric varices

Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2006 Jul 1;24(1):1-17. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2036.2006.02965.x.


Gastric variceal bleeding can be challenging to the clinician. Tissue adhesives can control acute bleeding in over 80%, with rebleeding rates of 20-30%, and should be first-line therapy where available. Endoscopic ultrasound can assist in better eradication of varices. The potential risks of damage to equipment and embolic phenomena can be minimized with careful attention to technique. Variceal band ligation is an alternative to tissue adhesives for the management of acute bleeding, but not for secondary prevention due to a higher rate of rebleeding. Endoscopic therapy with human thrombin appears promising, with initial haemostasis rates typically over 90%. The lack of controlled studies for thrombin prevents universal recommendation outside of clinical trials. Balloon occluded retrograde transvenous obliteration is a recent technique for patients with gastrorenal shunts, although its use is limited to clinical trials. Transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic stent shunt is an option for refractory bleeding and secondary prophylaxis, with uncontrolled studies demonstrating initial haemostasis obtained in over 90%, and rebleeding rates of 15-30%. Non-cardioselective beta-blockers are an alternative to transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic stent shunt for secondary prophylaxis, although the evidence is limited. Shunt surgery should be considered in well-compensated patients. Splenectomy or embolization is an option in patients with segmental portal hypertension.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Catheterization / methods
  • Endoscopy, Gastrointestinal / methods
  • Esophageal and Gastric Varices / therapy*
  • Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Ligation / methods
  • Portasystemic Shunt, Transjugular Intrahepatic / methods
  • Sclerotherapy / methods
  • Stents
  • Thrombin / therapeutic use
  • Tissue Adhesives / therapeutic use


  • Tissue Adhesives
  • Thrombin