Characteristics, prognosis and outcome of patients with oesophageal varices in a university hospital in Sweden 1994-1999.Scand J Gastroenterol. 2005 Dec; 40(12):1462-8.SJ
Patients with liver cirrhosis, portal hypertension and oesophageal varices are known to have high morbidity and mortality. The knowledge of incidence, aetiology and outcome in Sweden in recent years is limited.
MATERIAL AND METHODS
All patients with oesophageal varices diagnosed for the first time at Sahlgrenska University Hospital during the 6-year period 1994-1999 were retrospectively studied. Information about the aetiology of liver cirrhosis and oesophageal varices, as well as about the proportion of bleeding and non-bleeding varices, endoscopic and pharmacological treatment and outcome, was analyszed.
312 patients were retrieved, 297 with liver cirrhosis (197 diagnosed before first bleeding (P), 92 after bleeding (B) and 8 at autopsy) and 15 with portal vein thrombosis without cirrhosis. Fifty-four percent had alcoholic liver disease. Fifty-five percent in group B and 13% in group P had at least one bleeding episode during follow-up (p<0.001). There was no significant difference in survival between groups B and P. Twenty-six percent of the cirrhotics died of liver failure and 19% from variceal bleeding. In a multivariate analysis, variables predicting mortality were: Child-Pugh class, group B, age and bilirubin levels.
Variceal bleeding is still a strong risk factor for recurrent bleeding, but few die from their first bleeding. This concurs with studies indicating declining mortality from variceal bleeding. However, this patient group still has a high mortality from other causes.