Rates of recurrent variceal bleeding are low with modern esophageal banding strategies: A retrospective cohort study

Westyn Branch-Elliman*, Ponni Perumalswami, Stephanie H. Factor, Sarah M. Sled, Steven L Flamm

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background. Variceal bleeding has a high rate of mortality and recurrence. Endoscopic band ligation (EBL) is the established standard of care for secondary prevention of variceal bleeding. Objective. To determine the long-term re-bleeding rate of an EBL protocol similar to current society guidelines. Design. We conducted a retrospective cohort study at a tertiary care center of all patients with a history of a variceal bleed who underwent an aggressive band ligation protocol. Interventions. At the time of sentinel bleed, all varices, regardless of size, were ligated. EBL was then repeated every 2 weeks until stabilization, and all visible varices were ligated. The interval between banding sessions then increased. Main outcome measurements. The incidence of re-bleeding was calculated as the time between clinical stabilization after the sentinel event until data censoring, which occurred at time of re-bleed, death, transplant or loss-to-follow up. Gastric variceal bleeding was a secondary endpoint. Results. N = 176 patients were treated with aggressive EBL, and followed for a median of 16 months (range, 3 months-6.9 years). The 6 month incidence of re-bleeding was 2.3%, the 12 month incidence was 3.4%, and the 2 year incidence was 4.6%. Overall, aggressive EBL was well-tolerated. One patient died during follow-up secondary to a gastric variceal bleed. Conclusions. Aggressive EBL yields a low rate of re-bleeding when compared to standard practice. Secondary prophylaxis with aggressive EBL should be a consideration for patients following a sentinel bleeding event.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1059-1067
Number of pages9
JournalScandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015


  • Band ligation
  • Secondary prophylaxis
  • Variceal bleeding

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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