Background and study aims: Both endoscopic obturation and transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunts (TIPSs) have proven to be effective in preventing rebleeding from gastric varices. This study compared the efficacy and complications of these modalities.
Patients and methods: Cirrhotic patients with acute bleeding from gastric varices were considered for inclusion. After initial control, eligible patients were randomly allocated to two groups: TIPS (n = 35) and obturation using cyanoacrylate (n = 37). In the cyanoacrylate group, treatment was repeated regularly until gastric varices were obliterated. Patients of both groups received regular follow-up. The end points were gastric variceal rebleeding or death.
Results: Stent shunt insertion was successful in all TIPS patients, and mean portal pressure gradient decreased from 21.4 +/- 7.5 mm Hg to 7.5 +/- 3.5 mm Hg ( P < 0.001). Variceal obliteration was achieved in 19 patients in the cyanoacrylate group (51 %) compared with seven TIPS patients (20 %) ( P < 0.02). After a median follow up of 33 months, upper gastrointestinal bleeding occurred in 15 TIPS patients (43 %) and 22 cyanoacrylate patients (59 %) ( P = 0.12). Rebleeding from gastric varices was encountered in four TIPS patients (11 %) and 14 cyanoacrylate patients (38 %) ( P = 0.014; odds ratio 3.6, 95 %CI 1.2 - 11.1). Blood transfusion requirements were lower in the TIPS group than in the cyanoacrylate group ( P < 0.01). Survival and frequency of complications were similar in both groups.
Conclusions: TIPS proved more effective than glue injection in preventing rebleeding from gastric varices, with similar survival and frequency of complications.