Controlled trial of ligation plus nadolol versus nadolol alone for the prevention of first variceal bleeding

Hepatology. 2010 Jul;52(1):230-7. doi: 10.1002/hep.23617.


Both nadolol and ligation have proved to be effective in the prophylaxis of first variceal bleeding. This study was conducted to evaluate the effects and safety of combining nadolol with ligation. Cirrhotic patients with high-risk esophageal varices but without a bleeding history were considered for enrolment. Eligible patients were randomized to receive band ligation plus nadolol (Combined group, 70 patients) or nadolol alone (Nadolol group, 70 patients). In the Combined group multiligators were applied. Patients received regular ligation treatment at an interval of 4 weeks until variceal obliteration. Nadolol was administered at a dose to reduce 25% of the pulse rate in both the Combined group and the Nadolol group. Both groups were comparable in baseline data. In the Combined group 50 patients (71%) achieved variceal obliteration. The mean dose of nadolol was 52 +/- 16 mg in the Combined group and 56 +/- 19 mg in the Nadolol group. During a median follow-up of 26 months, 18 patients (26%) in the Combined group and 13 patients (18%) in the Nadolol group experienced upper gastrointestinal bleeding (P = NS). Esophageal variceal bleeding occurred in 10 patients (14%) in the Combined group and nine patients (13%) in the Nadolol group (P = NS). Adverse events were noted in 48 patients (68%) in the Combined group and 28 patients (40%) in the Nadolol group (P = 0.06). Sixteen patients in each group died.

Conclusion: The addition of ligation to nadolol may increase adverse events and did not enhance effectiveness in the prophylaxis of first variceal bleeding.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists / therapeutic use*
  • Aged
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Esophageal and Gastric Varices / complications*
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage / drug therapy
  • Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage / etiology
  • Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage / prevention & control*
  • Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage / surgery
  • Humans
  • Ligation
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nadolol / therapeutic use*


  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists
  • Nadolol