World J Gastrointest Surg. 2021 Dec 27;13(12):1651-1659. doi: 10.4240/wjgs.v13.i12.1651.
BACKGROUND: Liver cirrhosis is the main cause of portal hypertension. The leading cause of death in patients with liver cirrhosis is its most common complication, esophageal variceal bleeding (EVB). Endoscopic variceal ligation (EVL) is recommended by many guidelines to treat EVB and prevent rebleeding; however, esophageal ulcers occur after treatment. Delayed healing of ulcers and unhealed ulcers lead to high rebleeding and mortality rates. Thus, the prevention of early postoperative rebleeding is of great significance in improving the quality of life and prognosis of patients.
AIM: To evaluate the efficacy of aluminum phosphate gel (APG) plus a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) in the prevention of early rebleeding after EVL in patients with EVB.
METHODS: The medical records of 792 patients who were diagnosed with EVB and in whom bleeding was successfully stopped by EVL at Shenzhen People's Hospital, Guangdong Province, China from January 2015 to December 2020 were collected. According to the study inclusion and exclusion criteria, 401 cases were included in a PPI-monotherapy group (PPI group), and 377 cases were included in a PPI and APG combination therapy (PPI + APG) group. We compared the incidence rates of early rebleeding and other complications within 6 wk after treatment between the two groups. The two-sample t-test, Wilcoxon rank-sum test, and chi-squared test were adopted for statistical analyses.
RESULTS: No significant differences in age, sex, model for end-stage liver disease score, coagulation function, serum albumin level, or hemoglobin level were found between the two groups. The incidence of early rebleeding in the PPI + APG group (9/337; 2.39%) was significantly lower than that in the PPI group (30/401; 7.48%) (P = 0.001). Causes of early rebleeding in the PPI group were esophageal ulcer (3.99%, 16/401) and esophageal varices (3.49%, 14/401), while those in the PPI + APG group were also esophageal ulcers (5/377; 1.33%) and esophageal varices (4/377; 1.06%); such causes were significantly less frequent in the PPI + APG group than in the PPI group (P = 0.022 and 0.024, respectively). The early mortality rate within 6 wk in both groups was 0%, which was correlated with the timely rehospitalization of all patients with rebleeding and the conduct of emergency endoscopic therapy. The incidence of adverse events other than early bleeding in the PPI + APG group (28/377; 7.43%) was significantly lower than that in the PPI group (63/401; 15.71%) (P < 0.001). The incidence of chest pain in the PPI + APG group (9/377; 2.39%) was significantly lower than that in the PPI group (56/401; 13.97%) (P < 0.001). The incidence of constipation in the PPI + APG group (16/377; 4.24%) was significantly higher than that in the PPI group (3/401; 0.75%) (P = 0.002) but constipation was relieved after patients drank more water or took lactulose. In the PPI and PPI + APG groups, the incidence rates of spontaneous peritonitis within 6 wk after discharge were 0.50% (2/401) and 0.53% (2/377), respectively, and those of hepatic encephalopathy were 0.50% (2/401) and 0.27% (1/377), respectively, presenting no significant difference (P > 0.999).
CONCLUSION: PPI + APG combination therapy significantly reduces the incidence of early rebleeding and chest pain in patients with EVB after EVL.