Esophageal Varices Treatment
- What It Is
- Risk Factors
- Living With
- User Questions
- Alternative Treatment
- Care Guide
- Questions for Your Doctor
- When to Contact a Doctor
- Find a Doctor
- Resource Guide
How to Treat Esophageal Varices
Several treatments can help lower the risk of vessel rupture or to stop bleeding if it starts. Treatment options include the following:
Endoscopic Band Ligation
During endoscopy, a rubber band is tied around the bulging veins to prevent ruptures or stop bleeding. This is considered the first line treatment.
This procedure involves the passage of a balloon through the nose to help compress the bleeding varices.
Drugs intended to slow bleeding are injected into the bleeding vein and sometimes into the surrounding area. The drugs cause clots to form and harden the vein to stop bleeding.
Drugs used to relieve blood pressure include terlipressin, vasopressin, nitroglycerin, octreotide, and somatostatin.
Transjugular Intrahepatic Portosystemic Shunting (TIPS)
TIPS involves threading a catheter from a neck vein to the liver. A stent, a small tube designed to keep veins open, is bound to the catheter and inserted into the liver to increase blood flow through the portal vein and relieve blood pressure in the esophageal varices. This procedure can control bleeding in over 90% of cases.
Distal Splenorenal Shunt (DSRS)
A surgical procedure connecting the main vein in the spleen to the left kidney vein. The procedure is done to lower blood pressure in the swollen vessels and limit bleeding.
This procedure is reserved for those patients who fail to respond to either drug or endoscopic treatment and are not considered good candidates for a shunting procedure.
Liver transplantation is the only way to completely cure esophageal varices.
If you are diagnosed with esophageal varices, follow your doctor's instructions.