Get access

Current status of ectopic varices in Japan: Results of a survey by the Japan Society for Portal Hypertension


Professor Norihito Watanabe, Department of Gastroenterology, Tokai University Hachioji Hospital, 1838 Ishikawamachi, Hachioji, Tokyo 192-0032, Japan. Email:


Aim:  The Clinical Research Committee of the Japan Society for Portal Hypertension has conducted a nationwide questionnaire survey to clarify the current status of ectopic varices in Japan.

Methods:  A total of 173 cases of ectopic varices were collected.

Results:  Duodenal varices were found in 57 cases, and most of them were located in the descending to transverse parts. There were 11 cases of small intestinal varices and 6 cases of colonic varices, whereas 77 patients had rectal varices, accounting for the greatest proportion (44.5%). Other sites of varices were the biliary tract, anastomotic sites, the stoma, and the diaphragm. Liver cirrhosis was the most frequent diseases (80.3%) underlying ectopic varices. It was noted that patients with rectal varices frequently had a history of esophageal varices (94.8%) and received endoscopic treatment (87.0%). The treatments for ectopic varices were as an emergency in 46.5%, elective in 35.4% and prophylactic in 18.2%. In emergency cases, endoscopic therapy was most frequent (67.4%), followed by interventional radiology (IVR; 15.2%), and endoscopy-IVR combination (6.5%). Elective treatment was performed by endoscopy in 34.3%, IVR in 28.6%, combined endoscopy-IVR in 5.7%, and surgical operation in 25.7%. The prophylactic treatment was endoscopic in 50.0%, IVR in 33.3%, combined treatments in 11.1%, and prophylactic surgery in none. The change of ectopic varices after treatment was disappearance in 54.9%, remnant in 35.4% and recurrence in 9.7%. The rate of disappearance was significantly lower in rectal varices (40.8%) than in duodenal varices (73.4%). The patient outcome did not differ among the various sites of the lesion.

Conslusions:  Current status of ectopic varices in Japan has been clarified by a nationwide questionnaire survey. The authors expect that the pathophysiology of ectopic varices will be further elucidated, and that improved diagnostic modalities and treatment methods are established in the future.