Article

Banding ligation versus beta-blockers as primary prophylaxis in esophageal varices: systematic review of randomized trials.

Cochrane Hepato-Biliary Group, Copenhagen Trial Unit, Center for Clinical Intervention Research, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark.
The American Journal of Gastroenterology (Impact Factor: 9.21). 01/2008; 102(12):2842-8; quiz 2841, 2849. DOI: 10.1111/j.1572-0241.2007.01564.x
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT To compare banding ligation versus beta-blockers as primary prophylaxis in patients with esophageal varices and no previous bleeding.
Randomized trials were identified through electronic databases, reference lists in relevant articles, and correspondence with experts. Three authors extracted data. Random effects meta-analysis and metaregression were performed. The reported allocation sequence generation and concealment were extracted as measures of bias control.
The initial searches identified 1,174 references. Sixteen trials were included. In 15 trials, patients had high-risk varices. Three trials reported adequate bias control. All trials reported mortality for banding ligation (116/573 patients) and beta-blockers (115/594 patients). Mortality in the two treatment groups was not significantly different in the trials with adequate bias control (relative risk 1.22, 95% CI 0.84-1.78) or unclear bias control (RR 1.02, 95% CI 0.75-1.39). Trials with adequate bias control found no significant difference in bleeding rates (RR 0.86, 95% CI 0.55-1.35). Trials with unclear bias control found that banding ligation significantly reduced bleeding (RR 0.56, 95% CI 0.41-0.77). Both treatments were associated with adverse events. In metaregression analyses, the estimated effect of ligation was significantly more positive if trials were published as abstracts. Likewise, the shorter the follow-up, the more positive the estimated effect of ligation.
Banding ligation and beta-blockers may be used as primary prophylaxis in high-risk esophageal varices. The estimated effect of banding ligation in some trials may be biased and was associated with the duration of follow-up. Further high-quality trials are still needed.

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