If massive bleeding occurs, the patient may be placed on a ventilator to protect the airways and prevent blood from going down into the lungs.
Treatments for acute bleeding:
Once the bleeding is stopped, varices can be treated with medicines and medical procedures to prevent future bleeding:
Emergency surgery may be used (rarely) to treat patients if other therapy fails. Portocaval shunts or surgery to remove the esophagus are two treatment options, but these procedures are risky.
Patients with bleeding varices from liver disease may need additional treatment of their liver disease, including a liver transplant.
Bleeding often comes back without treatment. Bleeding esophageal varices are a serious complication of liver disease and have a poor outcome.
Call your health care provider or go to an emergency room if you vomit blood or have black tarry stools.
Garcia-Tsao G, Sanyal AJ, Grace ND, Carey WD; Practice Guidelines Committee of American Association for Study of Liver Diseases; Practice Parameters Committee of American College of Gastroenterology. Prevention and management of gastroesophageal varices and variceal hemorrhage in cirrhosis. Am J Gastroenterol. 2007;102:2086-2102.
Garcia-Tsao G. Cirrhosis and its sequellae. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 157.
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