Endoscopic band ligation is regarded as the main therapeutic option for acute esophageal variceal bleeding, while sclerotherapy may be used in the acute setting if ligation is technically difficult. The incidence of difficult-to-perform band ligation in acute esophageal variceal bleeding, as well as the outcome of patients subjected to injection sclerotherapy as an alternative treatment, has not been clearly investigated. Our aim is to study the outcome of patients subjected to injection sclerotherapy in the acute setting of esophageal variceal bleeding when endoscopic band ligation is technically difficult to perform. We included 151 patients with acute esophageal variceal bleeding originnating from medium or large sized varices. All patients were planned for EBL as the 1st treatment option (EBL group 61.6%), meanwhile, EIS using 5% ethanolamine oleate was reserved as the 2nd treatment option when EBL was technically difficult (EIS group 38.4%). The mean time to restore hemodynamic stability was significantly prolonged in the EIS group (11.5 ± 6.5 hrs versus 9.5 ± 5.0 hrs, p 0.05). Initial control of bleeding was significantly higher in the EBL group versus the EIS group (96.7% vs 84.5%, p 0.021). Re-bleeding was more among the EIS group (42.9% vs 24.2%, p 0.04). There were no significant differences as regarding mortality and duration of hospital stay. So, a considerable proportion of cases presenting with acute variceal bleeding will have difficulty in performing EBL. In these patients, sclerotherapy is not a waning procedure with an accepted success rate, without much additional complications and without deranging mortality.
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