Update on the management of gastrointestinal varices
Umesha Boregowda et al.
Abstract Cirrhosis of liver is a major problem in the western world. Portal hypertension is a complication of cirrhosis and can lead to a myriad of pathology of which include the development of porto-systemic collaterals. Gastrointestinal varices are dilated submucosal veins, which often develop at sites near the formation of gastroesophageal collateral circulation. The incidence of varices is on the rise due to alcohol and obesity. The most significant complication of portal hypertension is life-threatening bleeding from gastrointestinal varices, which is associated with substantial morbidity and mortality. In addition, this can cause a significant burden on the health care facility. Gastrointestinal varices can happen in esophagus, stomach or ectopic varices. There has been considerable progress made in the understanding of the natural history, pathophysiology and etiology of portal hypertension. Despite the development of endoscopic and medical treatments, early mortality due to variceal bleeding remains high due to significant illness of the patient. Recurrent variceal bleed is common and in some cases, there is refractory variceal bleed. This article aims to provide a comprehensive review of the management of gastrointestinal varices with an emphasis on endoscopic interventions, strategies to handle refractory variceal bleed and newer endoscopic treatment modalities. Early treatment and improved endoscopic techniques can help in improving morbidity and mortality. Key words: Portal hypertension; Esophageal varices; Gastric varices; Ectopic varices;