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Am J Gastroenterol. 2009 May;104(5):1125-9. doi: 10.1038/ajg.2009.78. Epub 2009 Mar 31.

Urgent vs. non-urgent endoscopy in stable acute variceal bleeding.

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Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.



The optimal timing of endoscopy with acute variceal bleeding (AVB) is unknown. The aim of this study was to evaluate the association between the timing of endoscopy and outcomes of stable AVB patients.


Patients admitted at two tertiary-care centers with hemodynamically stable AVB from 1997 to 2006 were evaluated retrospectively. The primary outcome was mortality. Other recorded outcomes included stigmata at endoscopy, hemostasis, blood transfusions, rebleeding, renal function, hospitalization length, infection, transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt use, and balloon tamponade use. Logistic regression analysis was used to assess the association of time to endoscopy with mortality. Outcome comparisons were also performed for three different urgency times (< or = vs. > 4 h, < or = vs. > 8 h, and < or = vs. > 12 h).


There were 210 patients with stable AVB, accounting for 52% of the total number of AVB patients. The mean (+/- s.d.) age was 55 (+/- 12) years. The mean presenting systolic blood pressure and heart rate were 121 (+/- 16) mm Hg and 98 (+/- 20) bpm, respectively. Esophageal varices accounted for 91% (n = 191) of variceal bleeding. The mean time to endoscopy was 12 (+/- 12) h. The overall hemostasis rate after endoscopy was 97% (n = 203). The mortality rate was 9.5% (n = 20). There was no significant association of time to endoscopy with mortality (odds ratio, OR, 1.0; 95% confidence interval, CI, 0.92-1.08; P = 0.91). Significant independent predictors for mortality were lower albumin (OR, 0.82; 95% CI, 0.73-0.93; P = 0.001), infection during admission (OR, 8.9; 95% CI, 2.5-31.6; P < 0.001), and higher model end-stage liver disease (MELD) (OR, 1.17; 95% CI, 1.06-1.29; P = 0.002). There was no difference in outcomes with different urgency times.


For patients who present with hemodynamically stable variceal bleeding, hemostasis after endoscopy is high, and the time to endoscopy does not appear to be associated with mortality.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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