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Arch Med Res. 1997 Summer;28(2):241-5.

Treatment of active gastroesophageal variceal bleeding with terlipressin or hemostatic balloon in patients with cirrhosis. A randomized controlled trial.

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Service d'Hepato-Gastroenterologie, Hospital Saint-Eloi, Montpellier, France.


Gastroesophageal variceal bleeding due to portal hypertension should be treated by endoscopic sclerotherapy. This procedure, however, has some limitations. It has been established that vasoactive drugs are effective for controlling active variceal bleeding. We report the results of a randomized controlled trial comparing terlipressin to hemostatic tube (Linton-Michel tube) for the treatment of bleeding gastroesophageal varices in cirrhotic patients. Thirty-seven cirrhotic patients with a total of 40 episodes of gastroesophageal variceal bleeding were included in this trial. Patients were randomly assigned to intravenous terlipressin or Linton-Michel tube (LM tube), for 24 h. During this period, hemostasis was defined as obtaining of hemodynamic and hematocrit stabilization and/or absence of hematemesis or melena. Bleeding recurrence was assessed during a 1-month period after treatment. Twenty bleeding episodes were treated with terlipressin (Group I) and 20 with LM tube (Group II). Both groups of patients were similar in age, sex distribution, etiology of cirrhosis and degree of hepatic insufficiency. Bleeding was controlled in 70% of patients from Group I and in 95% from Group II (p < 0.05) during treatment. Bleeding recurred in 14% of patients in Group I vs. 36% in Group II 1 week following the treatment (p > 0.05) and in 16.6% in Group I vs. 83.3% in Group II 1 month after treatment (p < 0.05). Complications were more frequent in Group II than in Group I (65 vs. 15%, p < 0.05). Mortality rate was similar in both groups 1 month after treatment. In conclusion, hemostatic tubes were superior to terlipressin for the control of active gastroesophageal variceal bleeding within the first 24 h. Complications and bleeding recurrence were more frequent in patients treated by hemostatic tube within a period of 1 month after treatment. Mortality rate was similar in both groups of patients.

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