Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2021 Dec 1;33(1S Suppl 1):e868-e876. doi: 10.1097/MEG.0000000000002282.
OBJECTIVES: Endoscopy is the mainstay treatment option for acute variceal bleeding (AVB) in liver cirrhosis. However, the optimal timing of endoscopy in such patients remains unclear.
METHODS: PubMed, EMBASE and Cochrane Library databases were searched. We compared the mortality, incidence of rebleeding, length of stay, endoscopic hemostasis, need for salvage and units of transfusion between cirrhotic patients with AVB who underwent early and delayed endoscopy. Meta-analyses were performed by using a random-effect model. Odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated. Subgroup analysis was performed in studies where early endoscopy was defined as <12 h.
RESULTS: Nine retrospective studies involving 2824 patients were included. The early endoscopy group had a significantly lower overall mortality than the delayed endoscopy group in overall analysis (OR = 0.56, 95% CI, 0.33-0.95, P = 0.03), but the difference between them was NS in subgroup analysis (OR = 0.72, 95% CI, 0.38-1.38, P = 0.33). In-hospital (OR = 0.77, 95% CI, 0.26-2.32, P = 0.65) and 6-week (OR = 0.78, 95% CI, 0.42-1.47, P = 0.45) mortality were not significantly different between them. Overall rebleeding was not significantly different between early and delayed endoscopy groups in both overall (OR = 0.88, 95% CI, 0.51-1.51, P = 0.63) and subgroup (OR = 1.04, 95% CI, 0.55-1.95, P = 0.90) analyses. In-hospital (OR = 1.41, 95% CI, 0.67-2.96, P = 0.37) and 6-week (OR = 0.93, 95% CI, 0.40-2.17, P = 0.86) rebleeding remained not significantly different between them. Additionally, the length of stay, endoscopic hemostasis, need for salvage and units of transfusion were not significantly different between them.
CONCLUSIONS: Early endoscopy may improve the survival of cirrhotic patients with AVB, but has no remarkable benefit on the prevention of rebleeding. These findings should be further validated by high-quality studies.