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Abstract

Active bleeding varices are a great challenge to endoscopists. In this study, we compared the short-term efficacy and safety of banding ligation with injection sclerotherapy in the arresting of active bleeding from esophageal varices. Seventy-one cirrhotic patients with active variceal bleeding were randomized to receive banding ligation (37 patients) or sclerotherapy (34 patients) immediately after endoscopic examinations. Primary success rate (bleeding stopped for 72 hours) was 97% in the ligation group and 76% in the sclerotherapy group (P = .009). The efficacy of ligation was similar to sclerotherapy in the control of oozing varices (100% vs. 89%, P = .23), whereas ligation was superior to sclerotherapy in the control of spurting varices (94% vs. 62%, P = .012). The requirement of vasoconstrictors after emergency endoscopic treatment was lower in the ligation group than in the sclerotherapy group (11% vs. 41%, P = .007). Treatment failure within 1 month was 8% in the ligation group vs. 30% in the sclerotherapy group (P = .02). Blood transfusion requirements were significantly lower in the ligation group than in the sclerotherapy group (3.2 ± 1.2 vs. 4.5 ± 1.8 units, P < .01). Rebleeding rate within 1 month was 17% in the ligation group and 33% in the sclerotherapy group (P = .19). Significant complications were encountered in 5% of the ligation group and 29% of the sclerotherapy group (P = .007). Mortality rates within 1 month were 19% in the ligation group and 35% in the sclerotherapy group (P = .19). Banding ligation and sclerotherapy were comparable in the arresting of oozing varices, whereas ligation was superior to sclerotherapy in the control of spurting varices. Patients treated with ligation required fewer vasoconstrictors and fewer transfusion units than patients treated with sclerotherapy. Furthermore, banding ligation was associated with a lower complication rate than sclerotherapy.