South African Journal of Surgery
On-line version ISSN 2078-5151
Print version ISSN 0038-2361
KRIGE, J. E. J.; KOTZE, U. K.; SHAW, J. M. and BORNMAN, P. C.. Early rebleeding and death at 6 weeks in alcoholic cirrhotic patients with acute variceal bleeding treated with emergency endoscopic injection sclerotherapy. S. Afr. j. surg. [online]. 2009, vol.47, n.3, pp.72-79. ISSN 2078-5151.
BACKGROUND: This study evaluated the incidence of rebleeding and death at 6 weeks after a first episode of acute variceal haemorrhage (AVH) treated by emergency endoscopic sclerotherapy in a large cohort of alcoholic cirrhotic patients. METHODS: From January 1984 to December 2006, 310 alcoholic cirrhotic patients (242 men, 68 women; mean age 51.7 years) with AVH underwent 786 endoscopic variceal injection treatments (342 emergency, 444 elective) during 919 endoscopy sessions in the first 6 weeks after the first variceal bleed. Endoscopic control of initial bleeding, variceal rebleeding and survival at 6 weeks were recorded. RESULTS: Endoscopic intervention controlled AVH in 304 of 310 patients (98.1%). Seventy-five patients (24.2%) rebled, 38 (12.3%) within 5 days and 37 (11.9%) within 6 weeks. No patient scored as Child-Pugh A died. Seventy-seven (24.8%) Child-Pugh B and C patients died, 29 (9.3%) within 5 days and 48 (15.4%) between 6 and 42 days. Mortality increased exponentially as the Child-Pugh score increased, reaching 80% when the score exceeded 13. CONCLUSION: Despite initial control of variceal haemorrhage, 1 in 4 patients (24.2%) rebled within 6 weeks. Survival at 6 weeks was 75.2% and was influenced by the severity of liver failure, with most deaths occurring in Child-Pugh grade C patients.