Endoscopic variceal ligation (EVL) using 'O' rings is widely accepted as a treatment of oesophageal varices that is at least as effective as endoscopic injection sclerotherapy but which produces fewer complications. Endoscopic variceal ligation using detachable snares has attracted attention as a safe and easy method of endoscopic treatment for gastric varices. Nineteen patients with acute bleeding from oesophageal or gastric varices were treated in the present study. Of these, 14 patients were treated with EVL using 'O' rings and five patients were treated with EVL using detachable snares and the treatment results were evaluated. Haemostasis was achieved in all patients. No serious complications of the procedures were observed. However, recurrences and rebleeding were observed in some patients during the maximum follow-up period of 24 months. Endoscopic variceal ligation using 'O' rings and detachable snares is useful for achieving haemostasis in cases of acute bleeding from oesophageal or gastric varices. However, additional endoscopic sclerotherapy may be needed to eliminate the variceal feeding vessels to further improve the long-term prognosis of these patients.