Varices and Variceal Hemorrhage in Cirrhosis: A New View of an Old Problem

Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2015 Nov;13(12):2109-17. doi: 10.1016/j.cgh.2015.07.012. Epub 2015 Jul 17.


The management of portal hypertension in cirrhosis has evolved over time, leading to improvements in the care and survival of patients with varices and variceal hemorrhage, particularly in patients who achieve a significant reduction in portal pressure. In addition to better treatment strategies and improved therapeutic options, the issue of risk stratification has become essential to identify different patient subpopulations that require a different treatment. We now recognize that the management of varices and variceal hemorrhage must be taken in the context of other complications of cirrhosis (ascites, encephalopathy, jaundice) and that the goals of therapy should be based on the presence of such complications. Evolving knowledge of the predominant pathophysiological mechanisms at each of the stages of cirrhosis also has evolved and will continue to lead to improvements in therapy. This review focuses on the management of varices and variceal hemorrhage with respect to refinements in the risk stratification of patients with cirrhosis.

Keywords: Cirrhosis; Portal Hypertension; Variceal Hemorrhage; Varices.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Case Management
  • Esophageal and Gastric Varices / complications*
  • Esophageal and Gastric Varices / etiology
  • Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage / etiology
  • Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage / pathology*
  • Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Hypertension, Portal / complications
  • Hypertension, Portal / etiology
  • Hypertension, Portal / therapy
  • Liver Cirrhosis / complications*
  • Liver Cirrhosis / therapy*