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Can J Gastroenterol. 2011 Mar;25(3):147-55.

Endoscopic band ligation versus pharmacological therapy for variceal bleeding in cirrhosis: a meta-analysis.

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Department of Gastroenterology, The First Affiliated Hospital, College of Medicine, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, People's Republic of China.



To conduct a meta-analysis of published, full-length, randomized controlled trials evaluating the efficacy of endoscopic band ligation (EBL) versus pharmacological therapy for the primary and secondary prophylaxis of variceal hemorrhage in patients with cirrhosis.


Literature searches were conducted using the PubMed, EMBASE and Cochrane Library databases. Eighteen randomized clinical trials that fulfilled the inclusion criteria were further pooled into a meta-analysis.


Among 1023 patients in 12 trials comparing EBL with beta-blockers for primary prevention, there was no significant difference in gastrointestinal bleeding (RR 0.79 [95% CI 0.61 to 1.02]), all-cause deaths (RR 1.06 [95% CI 0.86 to 1.30]) or bleeding-related deaths (RR 0.66 [95% CI 0.38 to 1.16]). There was a reduced trend toward significance in variceal bleeding with EBL compared with betablockers (RR 0.72 [95% CI 0.54 to 0.96]). However, variceal bleeding was not significantly different between the two groups in high-quality trials (RR 0.84 [95% CI 0.60 to 1.17]). Among 687 patients from six trials comparing EBL with beta-blockers plus isosorbide mononitrate for secondary prevention, there was no effect on either gastrointestinal bleeding (RR 0.95 [95% CI 0.65 to 1.40]) or variceal bleeding (RR 0.89 [95% CI 0.53 to 1.49]). The risk for all-cause deaths in the EBL group was significantly higher than in the medical group (RR 1.25 [95% CI 1.01 to 1.55]); however, the rate of bleeding related deaths was unaffected (RR 1.16 [95% CI 0.68 to 1.97]).


Both EBL and beta-blockers may be considered first-line treatments to prevent first variceal bleeding, whereas betablockers plus isosorbide mononitrate may be the best choice for the prevention of rebleeding.

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