Background: Variceal bleeding is an acute medical emergency with high mortality. Although less common than oesophageal variceal haemorrhage, gastric variceal bleeding is more severe and more difficult to control. The optimal therapy for gastric variceal bleeding remains unclear although endoscopic injection of N-Butyl-2-Cyanoacrylate (Histoacryl) glue is often used. However, its long-term efficacy is poorly described. We studied the immediate and long-term effects of Histoacryl glue injection as treatment for bleeding gastric varices in a large UK hospital.
Method: Endoscopy records and case notes were used to identify patients receiving Histoacryl injection for gastric variceal bleeding over a 4-year period.
Results: Thirty-one patients received Histoacryl for gastric variceal bleeding. Seventy-four per cent patients had alcohol-related liver disease and 61% of cirrhotics were Childs Pugh grade B or C. Fifty-eight per cent were actively bleeding during the procedure with 100% haemostasis rates achieved. Two patients developed pyrexia within 24 h of injection settling with antibiotics. No other complications were encountered. Mean overall follow-up was 35 months, with mean follow-up of survivors 57 months. Forty-eight per cent patients had endoscopic ultrasound assessment of varices during follow-up with no effect on rebleeding rates. Thirteen per cent required subsequent transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt placement. Gastric variceal rebleeding rate was 10% at 1 year and 16% in total. One- and two-year mortality was 23% and 35%, respectively.
Conclusion: Endoscopic injection of Histoacryl glue appears to be a safe and effective treatment for gastric variceal bleeding. Further data are required to compare it with other therapies in this situation.