Options for elective treatment of portal hypertension in cirrhotic patients in the transplantation era.Am J Surg. 1990 Jul; 160(1):105-10.AJ
We review herein our experience in the management of bleeding esophageal varices in cirrhotic patients and consider our findings in light of the dramatic changes in the treatment of cirrhosis resulting from the more widespread use of orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT). It does not seem realistic, at present, to propose OLT as the only effective treatment of variceal bleeding for a variety of reasons, and there remains a large group of patients who are noncompliant or unsuitable for liver transplantation. We propose that initial bleeding be controlled by endoscopic sclerotherapy, thereby allowing careful evaluation to be made electively. Grade A patients appear to be managed best by a reduced-size portacaval shunt (RPS) with prospects of good survival and few complications. Grade B patients can be managed by either sclerotherapy, RPS, or OLT, depending upon individual circumstances. Grade C patients are best managed by liver transplantation, again with excellent survival. In those grade C patients not deemed suitable for OLT (especially alcoholic patients), long-term endoscopic sclerotherapy is the best option. Changes in patient status may sometimes require revision of the treatment decision.