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Surgical shunts compared with endoscopic sclerotherapy for the treatment of variceal bleeding in adults with portal hypertension: a systematic review and meta-analysis
  1. Lu Tian,
  2. Yunjun He,
  3. Donglin Li,
  4. Hongkun Zhang
  1. Department of Vascular Surgery, The First Affiliated Hospital, College of Medicine, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China
  1. Correspondence to Dr Hongkun Zhang, Department of Vascular Surgery, The First Affiliated Hospital, College of Medicine, Zhejiang University, 79 Qingchun Road, Hangzhou, China; doczhk{at}


Aim Portal hypertension is a common complication of chronic liver disease and can cause variceal bleeding which is associated with high mortality. Choices for the treatment of variceal bleeding include surgical shunts and endoscopic sclerotherapy. The aim of this study was to compare the efficacy of surgical shunts and endoscopic sclerotherapy in treating variceal bleeding due to portal hypertension.

Design Systematic review and meta-analysis.

Setting Medline, PubMed, Cochrane and Google Scholar databases were searched until 12 February 2015, for relevant randomised control trials. Twenty studies with a total of 1540 participants were included.

Patients Patients with variceal bleeding due to portal hypertension.

Interventions Surgical shunts compared to endoscopic sclerotherapy.

Main outcome measures Rates of rebleeding, survival and hepatoencephalopathy, and length of hospital stay.

Results Pooled data for 17 studies showed that the rate of rebleeding was significantly more frequent with sclerotherapy compared with surgical shunt therapy (OR 3.99, 95% CI 2.98 to 5.33, p<0.001). The sclerotherapy patient group compared with the shunt group was less likely to develop hepatoencephalopathy (15 studies: pooled OR 0.53, 95% CI 0.31 to 0.91, p=0.021) and had shorter hospital stays (pooled mean difference −4.32, 95% CI −7.97 to −0.66, p=0.021). No significant difference in the survival rate was observed between the two groups (seven studies: OR 1.01, 95% CI 0.63 to 1.62, p=0.964).

Conclusion This analysis indicated that the two types of treatment have similar mortality rates but differed with respect to rebleeding rate, incidence of hepatoencephalopathy and length of hospital stay.

  • surgical shunts
  • endoscopic sclerotherapy
  • portal hypertension
  • variceal bleeding
  • treatment

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  • Contributors LT: guarantor of the integrity of the entire study, study design, literature research, data acquisition, manuscript editing. HZ: study concepts, definition of intellectual content, manuscript review. YH: literature research, manuscript preparation. DL: data analysis, statistical analysis.

  • Funding This study was sponsored by the Program of Education Department of Zhejiang province (grant code: Y201223954).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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