Meta-analysis: Combination endoscopic and drug therapy to prevent variceal rebleeding in cirrhosis.

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Meta-analysis: Combination endoscopic and drug therapy to prevent variceal rebleeding in cirrhosis.

Ann Intern Med. 2008 Jul 15;149(2):109-22

Authors: Gonzalez R, Zamora J, Gomez-Camarero J, Molinero LM, Bañares R, Albillos A

BACKGROUND: Combining endoscopic therapy and beta-blockers may improve outcomes in patients with cirrhosis and bleeding esophageal varices. PURPOSE: To assess whether a combination of endoscopic and drug therapy prevents overall and variceal rebleeding and improves survival better than either therapy alone. DATA SOURCES: MEDLINE, EMBASE, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, and conference proceedings through 30 December 2007. STUDY SELECTION: Randomized trials comparing endoscopic plus beta-blocker therapy with either therapy alone, without language restrictions. DATA EXTRACTION: Two reviewers independently extracted data on interventions and the primary study outcomes of overall rebleeding and mortality. Metaregression and stratified analysis were used to explore heterogeneity. DATA SYNTHESIS: 23 trials (1860 patients) met inclusion criteria. Combination therapy reduced overall rebleeding more than endoscopic therapy alone (pooled relative risk, 0.68 [95% CI, 0.52 to 0.89]; I(2) = 61%) or beta-blocker therapy alone (pooled relative risk, 0.71 [CI, 0.59 to 0.86]; I(2) = 0%). Combination therapy also reduced variceal rebleeding and variceal recurrence. Reduction in mortality from combination therapy did not statistically significantly differ from that from endoscopic (Peto odds ratio, 0.78 [CI, 0.58 to 1.07) or drug therapy (Peto odds ratio, 0.70 [CI, 0.46 to 1.06]). Effects were independent of the endoscopic procedure (injection sclerotherapy or banding). No trial-level variable associated with the effect was identified through metaregression or stratified analysis. LIMITATION: Statistically significant heterogeneity in trial quality and evidence for selective reporting and publication bias were found. CONCLUSION: A combination of endoscopic and drug therapy reduces overall and variceal rebleeding in cirrhosis more than either therapy alone.

PMID: 18626050 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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