Transabdominal esophagogastric devascularization as treatment for variceal hemorrhage.
BACKGROUND:During the past 18 years we have used a selective operative approach for variceal bleeders in whom endoscopic sclerotherapy failed or sclerotherapy was not indicated. Esophagogastric devascularization with splenectomy has been reserved for unshuntable patients and for those in whom a shunt was deemed inadvisable. The purposes of this study are to describe the surgical procedure technique and indications for esophagogastric devascularization and to report its long-term results. METHODS:Thirty-two patients who underwent either a limited (n = 9) or extensive (n = 23) esophagogastric devascularization procedure without esophageal transection for variceal bleeding were retrospectively reviewed. Common indications were thrombosis of all splanchnic veins (n = 12), distal splenorenal shunt thrombosis (n = 7), generalized portal hypertension with isolated splenic vein thrombosis (n = 5), and symptomatic splenomegaly or severe hypersplenism (n = 6). Eighteen patients (56%) had cirrhosis, eleven (34%) received an emergency operation, and eighteen (56%) bled from gastric varices. RESULTS:Three patients with Child's class C disease undergoing emergency surgery died during the early postoperative interval. Rebleeding occurred in nine surviving patients (31%) and was the cause of death in three. Rebleeding rates for the limited and extensive devascularization procedures were 50% and 24%, respectively. Only one of 11 patients with diffuse splanchnic venous thrombosis without liver disease has died. The 5-year survival rate of patients with liver disease was 51%. Only two patients experienced postoperative encephalopathy. CONCLUSIONS:When used in selected patients, esophagogastric devascularization without esophageal transection is a reasonably effective alternative to shunt surgery.
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