Endoscopic band ligation compared to thermal therapy for gastric antral vascular ectasia: A systematic review and meta-analysis

United European Gastroenterol J. 2021 Mar;9(2):150-158. doi: 10.1177/2050640620975243. Epub 2021 Feb 18.


Background: Gastric antral vascular ectasia is an infrequent cause of gastrointestinal-related blood loss manifesting as iron-deficiency anemia or overt gastrointestinal bleeding, and is associated with increased healthcare burdens. Endoscopic therapy of gastric antral vascular ectasia most commonly involves endoscopic thermal therapy. Endoscopic band ligation has been studied as an alternative therapy with promising results in gastric antral vascular ectasia.

Aims: The primary aim was to compare the efficacy of endoscopic band ligation and endoscopic thermal therapy by argon plasma coagulation for the management of bleeding gastric antral vascular ectasia in terms of the mean post-procedural transfusion requirements and the mean hemoglobin level change. Secondary outcomes included a comparison of the number of sessions needed for cessation of bleeding, the change in transfusion requirements, and the adverse events rate.

Methods: PubMed, Medline, SCOPUS, Google Scholar, and the Cochrane Controlled Trials Register were reviewed. Randomized controlled clinical trials and retrospective studies comparing endoscopic band ligation and endoscopic thermal therapy in bleeding gastric antral vascular ectasia, with a follow-up period of at least 6 months, were included. Statistical analysis was done using Review Manager.

Results: Our search yielded 516 papers. After removing duplicates and studies not fitting the criteria of selection, five studies including 207 patients were selected for analysis. Over a follow-up period of at least 6 months, patients treated with endoscopic band ligation had significantly lower post-procedural transfusion requirements (MD -2.10; 95% confidence interval (-2.42 to -1.77)) and a significantly higher change in the mean hemoglobin with endoscopic band ligation versus endoscopic thermal therapy (MD 0.92; 95% confidence interval [0.39-1.45]). Endoscopic band ligation led to a fewer number of required sessions (MD -1.15; 95% confidence interval [-2.30 to -0.01]) and a more pronounced change in transfusion requirements (MD -3.26; 95% confidence interval [-4.84 to -1.68]). There was no difference in adverse events.

Conclusion: Results should be interpreted cautiously due to the limited literature concerning the management of gastric antral vascular ectasia. Compared to endoscopic thermal therapy, endoscopic band ligation for the management of bleeding gastric antral vascular ectasia led to significantly lower transfusion requirements, showed a trend toward more remarkable post-procedural hemoglobin elevation, and a fewer number of procedures. Endoscopic band ligation may improve outcomes and lead to decreased healthcare burden and costs.

Keywords: argon plasma coagulation; band ligation; gastric antral vascular ectasia; hemostasis; transfusion.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Argon Plasma Coagulation* / adverse effects
  • Blood Transfusion
  • Gastric Antral Vascular Ectasia / blood
  • Gastric Antral Vascular Ectasia / complications*
  • Gastric Antral Vascular Ectasia / surgery*
  • Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage / blood
  • Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage / etiology
  • Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage / therapy*
  • Gastroscopy / adverse effects
  • Gastroscopy / methods*
  • Hematocrit
  • Humans
  • Ligation
  • Postoperative Care
  • Postoperative Complications