Gastroesophageal bleeding from varices is the most life-threatening complication in liver cirrhosis with portal hypertension. Since its first application, endoscopic sclerotherapy seems to be the most widely applicable procedure to stop the bleeding and to prevent recurrences. The aim of this study was to ascertain the role of some factors as predictors of survival in different groups of cirrhotic patients.
At the time of their first hemorrhage from esophageal varices, 184 patients with portal hypertension from cirrhosis were treated by endoscopic sclerotherapy using a combined intraparavariceal procedure and Polidocanol 1% as sclerosing agent.
The follow-up range was 1-106 months (mean, 28.2 months), and 84 patients were still alive (45.7%), 97 had died (52.7%), and three had withdrawn (1.6%) at the end of the period. The major cause of death was bleeding, and 35 patients died in the first 6 wk after sclerotherapy. Using Cox proportional hazard models, Child's grading was the most important prognostic factor of both short-term (first 6 wk) and medium/long-term survival (after the first 6 wk up to 5 years). Complete eradication of varices, too, was associated with both short- and long-term survival, whereas age, sex, etiology of cirrhosis, and the presence of esophageal stenosis as a side effect of sclerotherapy were not. The type of sclerotherapy (elective vs emergent) was associated with survival, but it was not independent from Child's grade, because only patients in Child C treated electively showed a better prognosis than those treated in emergency.
We can conclude that patients with severe liver disease (Class C) have poor prognosis, and complete eradication represents an aim because it seems to be protective against the risk of dying.