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J Nippon Med Sch. 2013;80(4):252-9.

Risk factors for bleeding esophagogastric varices.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Nippon Medical School Tama Nagayama Hospital, Tokyo, Japan.


Bleeding from gastric varices (GVs) is generally considered more severe than that from esophageal varices (EVs) but occurs less frequently. We review the risk factors for bleeding EVs and GVs. GVs were divided into 2 groups: cardiac varices (CVs, Lg-c) and fundal varices (FVs), i.e., varices involving the fundus alone (Lg-f) or varices involving both the cardia and fundus (Lg-cf). Elevated pressure in the portal vein is a risk factor for bleeding EVs. The portal pressure in patients with GVs and a gastrorenal shunt is lower than that in patients with EVs. The large size of varices is a risk factor for bleeding EVs. Red color signs are elevated red areas that are important for predicting the risk of variceal bleeding, and red wale markings, dilated venules oriented longitudinally on the mucosal surface, have been considered to be the sign with the highest risk. Red color signs are rare in FVs, possibly because of the pronounced thickness of the mucosal layer. Bleeding EVs are not associated with use of antiulcer drugs or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Although, in patients with bleeding GVs, "occasional" use of an oral NSAID is an important step leading to variceal hemorrhage, especially from FVs, even if the mucosa is protected by antiulcer drugs. Constipation, vomiting, severe coughing, and excessive consumption of alcohol may precipitate rupture of EVs.

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