Survey on Clinical Practice of Primary Prophylaxis in Portal Hypertension in Children

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Primary prophylaxis in portal hypertension in children is controversial, because there are few studies documenting its efficacy on the risk of bleeding. Twenty-eight centres out of the 38 we contacted returned a completed questionnaire about their clinical practices. More than 75% of the centres use endoscopy to screen patients diagnosed with portal cavernoma, biliary atresia, cystic fibrosis, and other fibrotic chronic liver diseases with suspected portal hypertension. In cases of grade 2 varices with red marks and grade 3 varices >90% of centres perform sclerotherapy or endoscopic variceal ligation. Noncardioselective beta-blockers were used by approximately 20% of centres. In conclusion, despite the absence of scientific recommendations there is a tacit consensus concerning the need to screen children with clinical signs of portal hypertension, and to provide primary prophylaxis in cases of endoscopic patterns of high-risk varices.

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