Background and aims: Almost 10% of bleeding episodes are refractory to combination of vasoactive agent and endotherapy, and are associated with a mortality up to 50%. Severity of liver disease and high portal pressure are mainly responsible for it. TIPS cannot be used in these patients due to high MELD score. We aimed to evaluate the efficacy of self-expandable DE stents for control of refractory variceal bleeds in patients with ACLF.
Methods: Acute-on-chronic liver failure patients (n = 88, mean age 47.3 ± 10.9 years) with refractory variceal bleeds received either DE stent (Gr. A, n = 35) or continued with repeat endotherapy and vasoactive drug (Gr.B, n = 53). Matching by propensity risk score (PRS) was done to avoid selection bias. Competing risk Cox regression analysis was done to identify event-specific, i.e., gastrointestinal bleed-related death.
Results: Majority (78.4%) of patients were alcoholic with MELD score of 45.9 ± 20.1. Control of initial bleeding was significantly more in the DE stent group as compared to controls in both pre-match (89 vs. 37%; p < 0.001) and PRS-matched cohorts (73 vs. 32%; 0.007). Further, bleed-related death was also significantly lower in DE group as compared to controls in both pre-match (14 vs. 64%; p = 0.001) and PRS-matched cohorts (6 vs. 56%; p = 0.001). In a multivariate competing risk Cox model, patients who underwent DE stenting had reduced mortality in both pre-match (p = 0.04, HR 0.36, 95% CI 0.13-0.96) and PRS-matched cohorts (p < 0.001, HR 0.21, 95% CI 0.08-0.51).
Conclusions: Self-expandable DE stents are very effective in control of refractory variceal bleeding and reduced mortality in patients with severe liver failure.
Keywords: Acute of chronic liver failure; SX-Ella stent Danis; Variceal bleeding.