Seven randomized clinical trials evaluating the effect of repeated endoscopic variceal sclerotherapy on the long-term survival of patients with variceal hemorrhage have been published in the English-language literature. In four trials, the sclerotherapy-treated patients showed an improved long-term survival (follow-up periods longer than a year) when compared with patients in the medical regimen group, whereas in the other three trials, the long-term survival did not differ between the compared groups. Sample sizes in these "negative" trials were too small to detect a true moderate effect for serial sclerotherapy. To resolve this controversy, we combined the findings from all trials using a meta-analysis and determined the overall effect of repeated endoscopic variceal sclerotherapy on the survival of patients who had previously bled from esophageal varices. An overall risk difference of -0.15 (95% confidence limits, -0.21 to -0.08; p < 0.0005) was estimated, indicating that sclerotherapy reduced the number of deaths by 25%. The estimated overall risk difference remained negative even when all patients in the sclerotherapy group with an unknown survival status were pessimistically considered dead at the end of the follow-up period. The results of this quantitative synthesis suggest that patients with bleeding esophageal varices benefit from the inclusion of repeated sclerotherapy in their long-term management regimen. © 1989.
Infante-Rivard, C., Esnaola, S., & Villeneuve, J. P. (1989). Role of endoscopic variceal sclerotherapy in the long-term management of variceal bleeding: A meta-analysis. Gastroenterology, 96(4), 1087–1092. https://doi.org/10.1016/0016-5085(89)91627-2