Short term sclerotherapy (by injection(s) around the bleeding point) is used for immediate control of massive haemorrhage from oesophagogastric varices. The usefulness of longterm sclerotherapy once short term sclerotherapy has been successfully carried out was assessed. Two treatment groups were studied: 50 patients were treated by 'combined' (short term followed by longterm) sclerotherapy; 56 patients were treated by short term sclerotherapy only. Patients included in the second group were treated by short term sclerotherapy only if a variceal rebleeding was present. The overall cumulative proportion of patients rebleeding was not significantly different in either group. Combined sclerotherapy patients, however, experienced less episodes of variceal haemorrhage and the source of haemorrhage was different (p < 0.002). Combined sclerotherapy was more efficient in preventing bleeding from oesophageal bleeding points but not those arising from a junctional source (p < 0.05). A greater incidence of oesophageal rebleeding was found in those patients whose first source of bleeding was oesophageal (p < 0.05). No significant difference was detected in survival expectancy between either group. In conclusion, after short term sclerotherapy is carried out successfully, those patients with bleeding from variceal bleeding points located on oesophageal mucosa should benefit most from a longterm sclerotherapy programme.
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