Send to

Choose Destination
BMC Gastroenterol. 2019 Nov 29;19(1):203. doi: 10.1186/s12876-019-1123-9.

The magnitude and correlates of esophageal Varices among newly diagnosed cirrhotic patients undergoing screening fibre optic endoscope before incident bleeding in North-Western Tanzania; a cross-sectional study.

Author information

Department of medicine, Weill Bugando School of Medicine, P.O Box 1464, Mwanza, Tanzania.
Department of medicine, Bugando medical center, 1370, Mwanza, Tanzania.
Department of medicine, Weill Bugando School of Medicine, P.O Box 1464, Mwanza, Tanzania.
Department of medicine, Bugando medical center, 1370, Mwanza, Tanzania.
Lake Zone Health Training institute, 11351, Bugando Mwanza, Tanzania.
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Weill Bugando School of Medicine, Mwanza, Tanzania.
Department of Parasitology, Weill Bugando School of Medicine, 1464, Mwanza, Tanzania.



Bleeding esophageal varices is a deadly complication of liver cirrhosis. Guidelines recommend an early diagnosis of esophageal varices before incident bleeding by screening all patients diagnosed with liver cirrhosis. Though it has been reported elsewhere that the presence of esophageal varices varies widely among cirrhotic patients this has not been assessed in Tanzania since endoscopy is not readily available for routine use in our setting. This study was designed to determine the prevalence of esophageal varices and assess the utility of clinical parameters in predicting the presence of varices among cirrhotic patients in northwestern Tanzania.


A cross-sectional analysis of adult patients with liver cirrhosis was done at Bugando Medical Centre. Demographic, clinical, laboratory and endoscopic data were collected and analyzed using STATA 13. The presence of esophageal varices was detected using endoscopic examination and associated factors were assessed by logistic regression. The predictive value of clinical predictors was also assessed by calculating sensitivity and specificity.


A total of 223 patients were enrolled, where 88 (39.5%; 95%CI: 33.0-45.9) had esophageal varices. The varices were independently associated with increased age (OR: 1.02; 95%CI: 1.0-1.04; p = 0.030); increased splenic diameter (OR:1.3; 95%CI:1.2-1.5; p <  0.001), increased portal vein diameter (OR:1.2; 95%CI: 1.07-1.4; p = 0.003), having ascites (OR: 3.0; 95%CI: 1.01-8.7; p = 0.046), and advanced liver disease (OR: 2.9; 95%CI: 1.3-6.7; p = 0.008). PSDR least performed in predicting varices, (AUC: 0.382; 95%CI: 0.304-0.459; cutoff: < 640; Sensitivity: 58.0%; 95%CI: 46.9-68.4; specificity: 57.0%; 95%CI: 48.2-65.5). SPD had better prediction; (AUC: 0.713; 95%CI: 0.646-0.781; cut off: > 15.2 cm; sensitivity: 65.9%; (95% CI: 55-75.7 and specificity:65.2%; 95%CI: 56.5-73.2), followed by PVD, (AUC: 0.6392; 95%CI: 0.566-0.712;cutoff: > 1.45 cm; sensitivity: 62.5%; 95CI: 51.5-72.6; specificity: 61.5%; 95%CI: 52.7-69.7).


Esophageal varices were prevalent among cirrhotic patients, most of which were at risk of bleeding. The non-invasive prediction of varices was not strong enough to replace endoscopic diagnosis. However, the predictors in this study can potentially assist in the selection of patients at high risk of having varices and prioritize them for endoscopic screening and appropriate management.


Esophageal varices; Liver cirrhosis; Non-invasive predictors; Northwestern Tanzania

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for BioMed Central Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center