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Abstract

A prospective series of 26 patients with portal hypertension and recent bleeding from esophageal varices was investigated with percutaneous transhepatic selective portography (PTP). PTP was performed immediately prior to and, in 23 patients, just after the initial endoscopic injection sclerotherapy (ST) session to study the acute effects of ST on the mediastinal portal-systemic collaterals. Late follow-up PTP was performed after a median of 8 months in 21 of 26 patients considered endoscopically to be free from esophageal varices after a median of 6 ST sessions. Five patients rebled from esophageal or gastric varices during the follow-up period of 15 months, but there were no fatalities due to variceal hemorrhage. In all patients, the initial PTP showed portal-systemic mediastinal collaterals. Immediately after ST, it was not possible to opacify esophageal varices at all (10 patients) or only partially (7 patients). Five patients died prior to late follow-up PTP. Endoscopic judgment of complete eradication of esophageal varices after repeated ST was in agreement with the late PTP results in 18 of 21 patients. In one patient, PTP showed residual esophageal varices subsequently confirmed by endoscopy. The results were uncertain in two patients for technical reasons. This study supports the opinion that submucosal esophageal varicose veins, as visualized by PTP, can be efficiently eradicated by serial ST, leaving the other mediastinal collaterals unaffected.