Factors predicting success of endoscopic variceal ligation for secondary prophylaxis of esophageal variceal bleeding

Gavin C. Harewood, Todd H. Baron, Louis M. Wong Kee Song

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Introduction: Endoscopic obliteration of esophageal varices by endoscopic variceal ligation (EVL) is an effective form of secondary prophylaxis. However, there is no consensus regarding the technical aspects of EVL for secondary prophylaxis. The present study compares the technical aspects of EVL (frequency of sessions, number of sessions and number of bands used) in patients who rebled following secondary prophylaxis of esophageal varices by EVL compared to those who did not rebleed. Methods: All patients who underwent EVL for treatment of acute variceal bleeding followed by EVL for secondary prophylaxis and who subsequently developed recurrent variceal bleeding at Mayo Clinic, Rochester between January 1995 and May 2003 were identified. A control group of patients undergoing EVL for secondary prophylaxis who did not rebleed was identified. Results: During the study period, 216 patients with acute esophageal variceal hemorrhage underwent emergent EVL treatment with follow-up EVL for secondary prophylaxis, of whom 20 (9.3%) subsequently rebled. Both rebleeding and non-rebleeding patient groups were well-matched with respect to liver function (Child-Pugh class), number and size of variceal trunks, endoscopic stigmata of hemorrhage and beta-blocker usage. The median interval between EVL sessions in the rebleeding group (2 weeks, interquartile range 0-2 weeks) was significantly shorter compared to the non-rebleeding group (5 weeks, interquartile range 3-7 weeks; P = 0.004). Adjusting for age, gender, and Child-Pugh class, interbanding interval ≥ 3 weeks was associated with increased likelihood of not rebleeding, hazard ratio 3.84 (95% confidence interval: 1.69-11.79; P = 0.0007). Conclusions: These findings demonstrate the importance of technical aspects of EVL on patient outcome, suggesting the benefit of longer interbanding intervals. Future prospective studies are required to define the optimal intersession interval. Standardizing procedural aspects of EVL will aid in objectively evaluating the benefit of this procedure when compared to other modalities such as medical treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)237-241
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology (Australia)
Issue number1 PART2
StatePublished - Jan 2006


  • Endoscopic variceal ligation
  • Esophageal varices
  • Prophylaxis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology


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