Background & aims: Uncontrolled studies suggest that placement of a transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS) could be useful in the treatment of variceal bleeding. The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy and safety of TIPS in the elective treatment of hemorrhage from esophageal varices in a randomized controlled study that compared the effects of TIPS with those of endoscopic sclerotherapy (ES).
Methods: Sixty-three consecutive cirrhotic patients with hemorrhage from esophageal varices were included. Thirty-two patients were randomly allocated to ES and 31 to TIPS groups.
Results: One patient in each group died before the therapeutic procedure could be performed. During a mean follow-up period of 15 months, variceal rebleeding occurred in 51.6% of the patients in the ES group and 23% of those in the TIPS group. Uncontrolled rebleeding occurred in 10 of 31 patients in the ES group, whereas rebleeding did not occur in any patient of the TIPS group. Hepatic encephalopathy was more frequent in TIPS patients (33.3%) than in those treated by ES (13%). However, mortality was similar in both treatment groups.
Conclusions: These preliminary results suggest that TIPS is more effective than ES in the prevention of variceal rebleeding in cirrhotic patients, even though no difference in survival was observed.