Primary prevention of bleeding from esophageal varices in patients with liver cirrhosis: An update and review of the literature.

Research paper by Dmitry Victorovich DV Garbuzenko, Nikolay Olegovich NO Arefyev

Indexed on: 11 Oct '20Published on: 11 Oct '20Published in: Journal of Evidence-Based Medicine


All patients with liver cirrhosis and portal hypertension should be stratified by risk groups to individualize different therapeutic strategies to increase the effectiveness of treatment. In this regard, the development of primary prophylaxis of variceal bleeding and its management according to the severity of portal hypertension may be promising. This paper is to describe the modern principles of primary prophylaxis of esophageal variceal bleeding in patients with liver cirrhosis. The PubMed and EMbase databases, Web of Science, Google Scholar, and the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews were used to search for relevant publications from 1999 to 2019. The results suggested that depending on the severity of portal hypertension, patients with cirrhosis should be divided into those who need preprimary prophylaxis, which aims to prevent the formation of esophageal varices, and those who require measures that aim to prevent esophageal variceal bleeding. In subclinical portal hypertension, therapy should be etiological and pathogenetic. Cirrhosis with clinically significant portal hypertension should receive nonselective β-blockers if they have small esophageal varices and risk factors for variceal bleeding. Nonselective β-blockers are the first-line drugs for the primary prevention of bleeding from medium to large-sized esophageal varices. Endoscopic band ligation is indicated for the patients who are intolerant to nonselective β-blockers or in the case of contraindications to pharmacological therapy. In summary, the stratification of cirrhotic patients by the severity of portal hypertension and an individual approach to the choice of treatment may increase the effectiveness of therapy as well as improve survival rate of these patients. © 2020 Chinese Cochrane Center, West China Hospital of Sichuan University and John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd.