In an effort to determine the optimal dose and frequency of chronic endoscopic variceal sclerotherapy, a prospective randomized controlled study comparing two treatment schedules of sclerotherapy was carried out over a 21-month period. Patients with variceal hemorrhage were randomly assigned to receive sclerotherapy at weekly intervals using injection volumes of >15 cc at each treatment or at mean intervals of three days using volumes of <10 cc per treatment. Esophageal perforation occurred in three patients (15%) in the small-dose, frequent-injection group as compared to none in the large-dose weekly treatment group (P=0.07), leading to premature termination of the study. The mean time to rebleeding was significantly shorter in the small-dose, frequent-treatment group (P=0.05). Variceal obliteration was achieved in a mean of 66% of patients in both groups with no difference in the time to obliteration or the frequency of other complications. Sclerotherapy offered at less than weekly intervals is less effective and is associated with an increased frequency of serious and life threatening complications.
- two treatment schedules
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