One hundred eighty patients with variceal bleeding and treated by long-term sclerotherapy were randomized into a prospective randomized controlled clinical trial to assess the efficacy of sucralfate in reducing the frequency of rebleeding from esophageal ulceration prior to variceal obliteration. Overall, 29 (32%) of the 92 patients treated with the addition of sucralfate rebled, compared to 37 (42%) of 88 patients managed by sclerotherapy alone (p < 0.10), but when patients with well-compensated liver disease were considered, the respective figures were 14 (24%) and 25 (42%)–-a statistically significant difference (p < 0.05). The frequency (∼70%), number (per patient) and extent of sclerotherapy-induced esophageal mucosal ulceration were not different for the two groups, although proven rebleeding from the ulceration occurred less frequently in those receiving sucralfate (10 and 20 occasions, respectively, p < 0.05). Mortality was not different for the two groups. Thus, use of sucralfate will reduce the frequency of rebleeding during long-term treatment by sclerotherapy, although benefit appears to be restricted to wellcompensated patients and without an endoscopic overt effect upon esophageal mucosal ulceration.
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