Background/aims: This study evaluated the clinical outcomes of balloon-occluded retrograde transvenous obliteration (BRTO) for the treatment of hemorrhage from gastric varices (GV) in Korean patients with liver cirrhosis (LC).
Methods: We retrospectively analyzed data from 183 LC patients who underwent BRTO for GV bleeding in 6 university-based hospitals between January 2001 and December 2010.
Results: Of the 183 enrolled patients, 49 patients had Child-Pugh (CP) class A LC, 105 had CP class B, and 30 had CP class C at the time of BRTO. BRTO was successfully performed in 177 patients (96.7%). Procedure-related complications (e.g., pulmonary thromboembolism and renal infarction) occurred in eight patients (4.4%). Among 151 patients who underwent follow-up examinations of GV, 79 patients (52.3%) achieved eradication of GV, and 110 patients (72.8%) exhibited marked shrinkage of the treated GV to grade 0 or I. Meanwhile, new-appearance or aggravation of esophageal varices (EV) occurred in 54 out of 136 patients who underwent follow-up endoscopy (41.2%). During the 36.0±29.2 months (mean±SD) of follow-up, 39 patients rebled (hemorrhage from GV in 7, EV in 18, nonvariceal origin in 4, and unknown in 10 patients). The estimated 3-year rebleeding-free rate was 74.8%, and multivariate analysis showed that CP class C was associated with rebleeding (odds ratio, 2.404; 95% confidence-interval, 1.013-5.704; P=0.047).
Conclusions: BRTO can be performed safely and effectively for the treatment of GV bleeding. However, aggravation of EV or bleeding from EV is not uncommon after BRTO; thus, periodic endoscopy to follow-up of EV with or without prophylactic treatment might be necessary in LC patients undergoing BRTO.
Keywords: Balloon-occluded retrograde transvenous obliteration; Esophageal varices; Gastric varices; Liver cirrhosis; Variceal hemorrhage.