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J Hepatol. 1992 Jan;14(1):99-103.

The effects of alcohol use on rebleeding and mortality in patients with alcoholic cirrhosis following variceal haemorrhage.

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  • 1Academic Department of Medicine, Royal Free Hospital, London, United Kingdom.


The effect of continued alcohol intake on prognosis in alcoholic cirrhotics who have already bled from varices is controversial. To investigate the effect of alcohol intake on prognosis we studied 189 consecutive alcoholic cirrhotics admitted, for the first time, to the Royal Free Hospital with variceal bleeding. Sixty-six died within 30 days of admission and 23 were excluded from the study for other reasons. Of the 100 remaining 15 remained 'probably abstinent' over long-term follow-up, 29 drank occasionally and 56 continued to misuse/abuse alcohol. The percentage survival probability at 2 years was 66% in the probable abstainers, 68% in the occasional drinkers and 63% in the alcohol abuse/misuse group. There were no significant differences in either mortality or rebleeding rates between the three groups. A rebleeding index (designed to take account of the number of rebleeds per patient and the total length of follow-up) also failed to show any significant difference between the three groups. The Cox proportional hazard model was used to study the effect of the following factors on rebleeding and mortality; age, sex, alcohol use, Pugh's score, acute treatment received for initial variceal bleed and long-term treatment received for prevention of recurrent variceal haemorrhage. Pugh's score was significantly related to risk of death during follow-up (p = 0.0122), but none of the other factors was significantly related to risk of rebleeding or mortality. Using conventional methods to determine alcohol use we were unable to demonstrate significant effects of alcohol intake on rebleeding or mortality in alcoholic cirrhotics who had bled from oesophageal varices.

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