The value of injection sclerotherapy in the management of active gastric variceal bleeding is unclear. A retrospective study was therefore performed of 46 episodes of acute variceal haemorrhage in 41 patients who were treated by endoscopic sclerotherapy. The site of gastric variceal haemorrhage was the lesser curve (Group 1) in 13, within a hiatus hernia (Group 2) in six, and fundal with or without associated oesophageal varices (Type 3) in 22 cases. Haemostasis was achieved by sclerotherapy in 54%, 71.4% and 26%, respectively. After additional measures including balloon tamponade or surgery 85% of the Group 1 cases had stopped bleeding significantly more frequently than was observed in Group 3 (44.4%). More patients in Group 3 died due to uncontrolled bleeding (41%) than in Group I (7.7%). Hospital mortality depended on the severity of the liver disease with 15% of Child's grade A and 56% of grade C cases dying. It is concluded that endoscopic sclerotherapy of gastric varices should be reserved only for lesser curve or hiatal varices and that early surgery (or sclerotherapy using tissue adhesive) be considered for variceal haemorrhage originating from fundal varices.