Background After variceal bleeding, cirrhotic patients should receive secondary prophylaxis.
Aim To compare nadolol plus 5-isosorbide mononitrate (5-ISMN) with endoscopic band ligation. The end points were rebleeding, treatment failure and death.
Methods One hundred and nine cirrhotic patients with a recent variceal bleeding were randomized: nadolol plus 5-ISMN in 57 patients and endoscopic band ligation in 52 patients.
Results The mean follow-up was 17 and 19 months in nadolol plus 5-ISMN and endoscopic band ligation groups, respectively. No differences were observed between groups in upper rebleeding (47% vs. 46%), variceal rebleeding (40% vs. 36%), failure (32% vs. 22%), major complications (7% vs. 13.5%) and death (19% vs. 20%), respectively. The actuarial probability of remaining free of rebleeding, failure and deaths were similar in both groups. Time to rebleeding shows that endoscopic band ligation patients had an early rebleed, with a median of 0.5 month (95% CI: 0.0–4.2) compared with patients from nadolol plus 5-ISMN, 7.6 months (95% CI: 2.9–12.3, P < 0.013). Multivariate analysis indicated that outcome-specific predictive factor(s) for rebleeding was Child A vs. B + C (P < 0.01); for failure was Child A vs. B + C (P < 0.02); and for death ascites (P < 0.01) and rebleeding (P < 0.02).
Conclusion This trial suggests no superiority of endoscopic band ligation over nadolol plus 5-ISMN mononitrate for the prevention of rebleeding in cirrhotic patients.