Endoscopic variceal band ligation (EVL) is an effective procedure to control and prevent variceal bleeding in patients with liver cirrhosis, but it can be complicated by bleeding from post-EVL ulcers. Several studies have reported that proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) decrease the size of post-EVL ulcers. However, evidence are limited as to whether PPIs actually reduce the risk of bleeding after EVL. This study aimed to analyze the factors associated with bleeding after prophylactic EVL and to assess the effect of PPI therapy.
Five hundred and five cirrhotic patients with high risk esophageal varices who received primary prophylactic EVL were included for this retrospective cohort study. Post-EVL bleeding was defined as bleeding after prophylactic EVL within 8 weeks evidenced by the occurrence of melena or hematemesis, or by a decrease of hemoglobin by >2.0 g/dL. If evidence of bleeding from ulceration of the EVL sites was confirmed by endoscopy, we defined it as post-EVL ulcer bleeding.
Fourteen patients developed bleeding after prophylactic EVL. Factors associated with post-EVL bleeding included alcohol as etiology, low albumin, high total bilirubin, high Child-Pugh score, high MELD score, coexistence of gastric varices, and not administrating PPI medication by univariate analysis. In multivariate logistic analysis, Co-existing gastric varix (odds ratio [OR] 5.680, P = 0.005] and not administrating PPIs (OR 8.217, P = 0.002) were associated with bleeding after prophylactic EVL. In the subgroup analysis excluding patients whose gastric varices were treated, not administering PPI medication (OR 8.827, P = 0.008) was the sole factor associated with post-EVL bleeding.
We suggest that PPI therapy needs to be considered in patients receiving prophylactic EVL to reduce the risk of bleeding after prophylactic EVL.