Bleeding risk of variceal band ligation in extrahepatic portal vein obstruction is not increased by oral anticoagulation

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Abstract

Background and objectives

Noncirrhotic nontumoral extrahepatic portal vein obstruction (EHPVO) is the second leading cause of portal hypertension (PHT) and is mainly related to prothrombotic disorders. Patients with EHPVO often require prolonged oral anticoagulation therapy (OAT) together with variceal band ligation (VBL) to prevent thrombosis recurrence and PHT-related bleeding, respectively. The benefit–risk balance of VBL in this context remains unknown. We aimed to assess upper gastrointestinal bleeding (UGB) risk and variceal eradication efficacy in EHPVO patients undergoing a VBL program without stopping OAT.

Patients and methods

All patients with EHPVO treated (group A) or not (group B) with OAT and undergoing the VBL program were included between 2001 and 2010 in two tertiary French liver centers. We compared the incidence, source, and severity of UGB and variceal eradication efficacy. All EHPVO patients were then matched 1 : 1 with compensated cirrhotic patients with PHT not receiving OAT (group C) to compare UGB incidence and VBL efficacy.

Results

Forty-three EHPVO patients (30 with and 13 without OAT) and 43 cirrhotic patients were included for a total of 471 VBL sessions. The incidence of UGB was similar between group A (nine episodes/121 sessions) and group B (6/130), and tended to be higher in EHPVO patients (group A and B) than in cirrhotic patients (2/220). There was no difference between groups when considering bleeding source or severity and variceal eradication efficacy (84%).

Conclusion

VBL can be performed safely and efficiently without stopping anticoagulation therapy in EHPVO patients.

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