To compare the efficacy of two oesophageal tamponade tubes, 28 patients with endoscopically proven actively bleeding varices were randomly allocated to be intubated with either a newly available 4-lumen tube incorporating an extra lumen for oesophageal suction, or the modified 3-lumen Sengstaken tube. The patients and the nursing staff preferred using the 4-lumen tube and both aspiration pneumonias and balloon dysfunction occurred less frequently. Variceal haemorrhage was successfully controlled for the first 12 hours in most patients in the two treatment groups, although the incidence of re-bleeding at 48 hours after the tube had been deflated was high.
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