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Surg Endosc. 1990;4(1):18-9.

Bacteremia after injection of esophageal varices.

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Department of Surgery, Groote Schuur Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa.


Elective sclerotherapy for esophageal varices produces bacteremia in 4% to 53% of patients. The clinical importance of this phenomenon is uncertain. This study was undertaken to re-assess the incidence and clinical relevance of post-sclerotherapy bacteremia. Blood cultures were taken prior to and at 5 min and 4 h after endoscopy in 50 patients for whom sclerotherapy was planned. In the 41 patients in whom varices were injected, positive cultures were obtained 5 min after sclerotherapy in only 4 patients (10%) and all but 1 patient had other possible causes of bacteremia. After 4 h, all blood cultures were sterile. No infective complications were identified. Bacteremia appears to be an infrequent and transient event after elective sclerotherapy. Only patients with prosthetic heart valves or endocardial abnormalities require antibiotic prophylaxis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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