[Therapy and prevention of hemorrhage from esophageal varices].Z Gastroenterol. 1990 Jun; 28(6):302-14.ZG
Management of variceal hemorrhage includes emergency treatment of bleeding esophageal varices and prophylactic treatment for the prevention of first bleeding or rebleeding. Endoscopic injection sclerotherapy appears to be the most effective therapeutic option to control acute variceal hemorrhage. When sclerotherapy fails or cannot be performed a Sengstaken-Blakemore tube can be used. Supportive treatment is provided by vasodilator or vasoconstrictor therapy. At present, operative treatment modalities such as portosystemic shunts or esophageal transection are secondary to sclerotherapy or balloon tamponade. The probability of recurrent variceal hemorrhage after a first bleeding is 70%. This necessitates preventive measures such as endoscopic sclerotherapy, beta-blockade, or surgical procedures. Meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials indicates that sclerotherapy appears to reduce the number of episodes of recurrent variceal hemorrhage better than other prophylactic treatments and to improve survival. Chronic sclerotherapy may be the procedure of first choice in patients with good liver function when elective shunt surgery is provided for those who have recurrent bleeding despite sclerotherapy. The role of beta-blockade in the prevention of recurrent bleeding remains to be clearly defined. Prevention of first esophageal bleeding by invasive treatment modalities could reasonably only be performed in patients with high bleeding risk, which, however, cannot be defined accurately at present. The use of beta-blockers in the prevention of first variceal hemorrhage should be restricted to clinical trials.