Secondary Prophylaxis of Gastric Variceal Bleeding: A Systematic Review and Network Meta-Analysis

Karim T. Osman, Tarek Nayfeh, Ahmed M. Abdelfattah, Khaled Alabdallah, Bashar Hasan, Mohammed Firwana, Homam Alabaji, Lina Elkhabiry, Jehan Mousa, Larry J. Prokop, M. Hassan Murad, Fredric Gordon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There is no clear consensus regarding the optimal approach for secondary prophylaxis of gastric variceal bleeding (GVB) in patients with cirrhosis. We conducted a systematic review and network meta-analysis (NMA) to compare the efficacy of available treatments. A comprehensive search of several databases from each database's inception to March 23, 2021, was conducted to identify relevant randomized controlled trials (RCTs). Outcomes of interest were rebleeding and mortality. Results were expressed as relative risk (RR) and 95% confidence interval (CI). We followed the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation approach to rate the certainty of evidence. We included 9 RCTs with 647 patients who had histories of GVB and follow-ups >6 weeks. A total of 9 interventions were included in the NMA. Balloon-occluded retrograde transvenous obliteration (BRTO) was associated with a lower risk of rebleeding when compared with β-blockers (RR, 0.04; 95% CI, 0.01-0.26; low certainty), and endoscopic injection sclerotherapy (EIS)–cyanoacrylate (CYA) (RR, 0.18; 95% CI, 0.04-0.77; low certainty). β-blockers were associated with a higher risk of rebleeding compared with most interventions and with increased mortality compared with EIS-CYA (RR, 4.12, 95% CI, 1.50-11.36; low certainty), and EIS-CYA + nonselective β-blockers (RR, 5.61; 95% CI, 1.91-16.43; low certainty). Analysis based on indirect comparisons suggests that BRTO may be the best intervention in preventing rebleeding, whereas β-blocker monotherapy is likely the worst in preventing rebleeding and mortality. Head-to-head RCTs are needed to validate these results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)945-958
Number of pages14
JournalLiver Transplantation
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Hepatology
  • Transplantation


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