Sustained rise of portal pressure after sclerotherapy, but not band ligation, in acute variceal bleeding in cirrhosis



During variceal bleeding, several factors may increase portal pressure, which in turn may precipitate further bleeding. This study investigates the early effects of endoscopic injection sclerotherapy (EIS) and endoscopic band ligation (EBL) on hepatic venous pressure gradient (HVPG) during acute bleeding and the possible influence in outcome. In 50 cirrhotic patients with bleeding esophageal varices treated with EIS (n = 25) or EBL (n = 25), we performed repeated HVPG measurements before and immediately after endoscopic treatment (time 0) and every 24 hours for a 5-day period. Endotherapy was continued until the varices were too small for further treatment. Both groups were comparable with regard to age, gender, Child-Turcotte-Pugh grade, and HVPG. In the EBL and EIS groups, a significant (P < .0001) increase was observed in mean portal pressure (20.7 mm Hg ± 4.4 SD and 21.5 mm Hg ± 4.5 SD, respectively) immediately after treatment (time 0) as compared with pretreatment (18.1 ± 4.5 and 18.1 ± 4.0). However, HVPG in the EBL group returned to baseline values within 48 hours after treatment, while in the EIS group it remained high during the 120-hour study period (P < .0001). Bleeding stopped in all patients after endotherapy. During the 42-day follow-up period, the rebleeding rate over time was lower in the EBL group compared with the EIS group (P = .024). Patients with an initial HVPG greater than 16 mm Hg had, despite endoscopic treatment, a significantly higher likelihood of rebleeding (P = .05) and death (P = .024) and overall failure (P = .037). In conclusion, during acute variceal bleeding EIS, but not EBL, causes a sustained increase in HVPG, which is followed by a higher rebleeding rate. (HEPATOLOGY 2004;39:1623–1630.)