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Abstract

The incidence and the risk factors of hemorrhage from gastric fundal varices (FV) have not been fully evaluated. We therefore conducted a retrospective and prospective study to define the incidence and risk factors for such episodes. We investigated 132 patients with cirrhosis and gastric FV. Of these 132 patients, 15 patients had hemorrhagic FV at the time of enrollment. The clinical characteristics were compared between these patients and those without a first hemorrhage from FV. In the patients who had never previously bled, the incidence and risk factors were prospectively investigated. The size of FV was greater and red-spot on the FV were more prevalent in patients with hemorrhagic FV. Child's status was also more severe in these patients. In the 117 patients who had never bled, 34 hemorrhages from FV occurred during the follow-up period. The cumulative risk for such hemorrhage at 1, 3, and 5 years was 16%, 36%, and 44%, respectively. A multiple regression analysis (Cox's model) revealed the size of varices, red-spot on the FV, and Child's status to be statistically significant, as well as independent predictors for hemorrhage from FV. The endoscopic criteria (size of the largest varix and presence of red-spot), as well as the hepatic functional reserve, provide the most essential information for predicting a hemorrhage from FV. An estimation of the probability for hemorrhage from FV based on Cox's model may therefore be beneficial in the clinical management of patients with high-risk FV.