Background & aims: In a recent randomized international clinical trial (RCT) in high-risk cirrhotic patients with acute variceal bleeding, the early use of transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS) was associated with marked and significant reductions in both treatment failure and mortality. The aim of this study was to confirm these results in clinical practice in the same centers of the RCT study.
Methods: We retrospectively reviewed patients admitted for acute variceal bleeding and high risk of treatment failure (Child C <14 or Child B plus active bleeding), treated with early-TIPS (n=45) or drugs+endoscopic therapy (ET) (n=30).
Results: Patients treated with early-TIPS had a much lower incidence of failure to control bleeding or rebleeding than patients receiving drug+ET (3 vs. 15; p <0.001). The 1-year actuarial probability of remaining free of this composite end point was 93% vs. 53% (p <0.001). The same was observed in mortality (1-year actuarial survival was 86% vs. 70% respectively; p=0.056). Actuarial curves of failure to control bleeding+rebleeding and of survival were well within the confidence intervals of those observed in the RCT.
Conclusions: This study supports the early use of TIPS in patients with cirrhosis and a high-risk variceal bleeding.
Copyright © 2012 European Association for the Study of the Liver. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.