Generally, Esophageal Varices are caused by bleeding of the esophagus. There are two types of esophageal varices: Uphill varices and Downhill varices. In this article, we will discuss both types of varices and their treatment options.
Bleeding esophageal varices
Having bleeding esophageal varices is a serious medical problem that needs to be dealt with quickly. People with this condition often experience sudden and severe bleeding, which can lead to shock. They may also vomit a lot of blood and have irregular breathing and low blood pressure.
Bleeding esophageal varices occur when the veins in the esophagus wall become enlarged and dilated. These veins can bleed spontaneously or be triggered by a blood clot in the portal vein. This condition is most common in people with liver disease, such as cirrhosis. However, it can occur in people with other liver conditions. It can also be caused by parasitic infections, such as schistosomiasis.
The first line of treatment for bleeding esophageal varices should be to stop the bleeding. This is done by giving a blood transfusion or intravenously injecting a medication called vasopressin. If bleeding continues, a liver transplant may be necessary. If bleeding is recurrent, lifestyle changes may be necessary to prevent a recurrence.
Another method of treatment is to surgically close off the varices. A doctor can perform a variceal band ligation, which is a procedure to seal off the varices. This method may also help to reduce the risk of recurrent bleeding.
Another treatment is to reduce the risk of bleeding by lowering the blood pressure in the portal vein. This can be done with beta-blocker drugs. The risk of bleeding increases if the blood pressure in the portal vein is too high. However, beta blockers do not prevent the occurrence of esophageal varices.
It is important to note that esophageal varices can bleed again, even after treatment. This is because the liver has scar tissue that causes blood flow to slow. However, you can reduce the risk of recurrent bleeding by maintaining a healthy diet and getting regular exercise.
If a person has bleeding esophageal varices, they should be rushed to the hospital. This is important because uncontrolled bleeding can cause shock and may lead to death.
During the emergency department, doctors will take a look at the varices through an endoscope. This procedure is the gold standard for diagnosing and treating esophageal varices. The endoscope is a thin, flexible tube with a camera on the tip. The camera sends images to a monitor. The endoscope can also be used to examine the upper part of the small intestine.
Uphill vs downhill varices
Unlike uphill varices, downhill varices occur in the mid to upper third of the esophagus, and they are less likely to bleed. They form when obstructed venous blood flow in the superior vena cava is reabsorbed into the esophageal venous plexus.
Downhill varices are typically idiopathic and may occur in patients without portal hypertension. However, they can also be caused by chronic mediastinal fibrosis or pulmonary hypertension. The primary etiology of downhill varices should be addressed to determine the best therapeutic regimen for the individual patient.
Treatment of downhill varices may involve endoscopic local interventions such as sclerotherapy and banding, balloon angioplasty, or vascular stenting. Other treatment options may include surgery to remove the varices or reconstruct the involved SVC.
Other causes of downhill varices include substernal goiter, pulmonary hypertension, lymphoma, mediastinal tumors, or Behcet’s disease. These conditions can result in obstruction of the SVC, which then causes varices to develop throughout the esophagus.
However, because the cause of downhill varices is rare, there is a lack of knowledge on how to accurately diagnose and treat the condition. There is a need for a systematic review of the condition. This review would explore clinical manifestations, presenting symptoms, predisposing etiologies, diagnosis, therapeutic regimens, and interventional radiology.
The best evidence demonstrates that downhill varices are associated with portal hypertension, but there are cases of patients with esophageal varices without portal hypertension. This condition is often misdiagnosed and patients are misdiagnosed with liver disease or cirrhosis.
Despite this, downhill varices are a rare cause of bleeding. They are thought to develop due to congenital weakness in the esophageal venous system. However, other causes of bleeding are also possible, and a high index of suspicion is warranted.
Ultimately, a multidisciplinary team should be involved in the treatment of bleeding “downhill” esophageal varices. These include a thoracic surgeons, interventional radiologists, and endoscopists. The primary goal of treatment is to relieve the obstruction. Other treatments may include sclerotherapy, balloon angioplasty, thyroidectomy, vascular stenting, or surgery.
In conclusion, downhill varices are rare and must be treated with a high index of suspicion. A prompt diagnosis can significantly improve morbidity.
Several treatment options for esophageal varices are available, but the choice must be based on the benefit to the patient. Treatment can be conservative or surgical.
Endoscopic variceal ligation is a procedure that obliterates varices by mechanical strangulation with rubber bands. The procedure can be done through an endoscope or with a transabdominal approach. Esophageal transection at the level of the cardia is highly effective in arresting bleeding from gastric varices.
Band ligation is another procedure that reduces bleeding in high-risk esophageal varices. A tube called a shunt is placed between the hepatic vein and the portal vein. This shunt helps to decrease the pressure of the portal vein.
The procedure is a safe and effective way to stop esophageal bleeding. However, this method is not effective in stopping bleeding from ectopic varices.
Transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS) is another method to treat esophageal varices. This procedure is used in patients with cirrhosis. The shunt helps to decrease the pressure of a vein that carries blood from the liver to the heart. This procedure is safe for pregnancy.
Esophageal varices are highly associated with cirrhosis. The incidence of esophageal varices has decreased in recent decades. However, there is still a lot of research needed.
Esophageal varices are a serious health concern and should be treated properly. The main aim of treatment is to decrease the pressure of the portal vein. If this is not possible, the patient can be treated to stop the bleeding. In addition, antibiotics can be given to prevent infections.
Acute variceal hemorrhage can be treated with resuscitation and transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic therapy. However, bleeding from esophageal varices can be fatal. A blood transfusion is needed to replace the blood lost during the procedure.
Treatment for esophageal varices is also dependent on the underlying condition. For example, patients with large varices may require prophylactic band ligation therapy. Using beta-blockers can help to control bleeding.
Esophageal varices can also be treated with endoscopic sclerotherapy. This therapy is cheap and easy to perform. However, it is less effective than band ligation.
Currently, there are no studies comparing EBL with EIS in pregnant patients. However, there are a few case reports describing successful hemostasis with no fetal complications.
Approximately one-third of patients with known esophageal varices die as a result of upper gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding. In patients with cirrhosis, the risk of fatal hemorrhage is higher. This complication may occur at a time of severe liver failure or hepatic encephalopathy. It can also precipitate aspiration pneumonia.
The best way to diagnose esophageal varices is through endoscopy. Depending on the clinical presentation, routine follow-up gastroscopy may be considered. This procedure is not recommended for all patients with esophageal varices. However, patients with significant bleeding should be treated in the acute setting.
Esophageal varices are dilated tortuous veins. They are generally asymptomatic until they rupture into the esophagus and bleed. They are also associated with cirrhosis, hepatic schistosomiasis, and alcoholic cirrhosis. They may also rebleed. Esophageal varices may be obliterated with balloon-occluded retrograde transvenous obliteration (TIPS) or portosystemic shunt creation.
Esophageal varices are associated with portal hypertension. Portal hypertension is caused by a variety of disorders, including cirrhosis, hepatic veins, and veno-occlusive disease. It can also occur as a result of a noncirrhotic condition, including splenic veins. Depending on the cause, portal hypertension can result in variceal bleeding.
Patients with portal hypertension are at a high risk of developing esophageal varices. Most patients with portal hypertension will not develop varices, but a minority will. Symptoms can include abdominal pain, ascites, and fever. Patients may also present with chest pain. The most common cause of portal hypertension is cirrhosis. Other post-hepatic causes include hepatic schistosomiasis, Budd-Chiari syndrome, and veno-occlusive diseases.
Approximately 50% of patients with hematemesis have other causes of upper GI bleeding. Approximately 22% of patients with cirrhosis have varices, and approximately one-third of patients with known esophageal variceal varices die as a result of GI bleeding. The mortality rate for cirrhotic patients with variceal hemorrhage is between 10 and 17%.
Esophageal varices may rebleed, but they are usually treated by a surgical procedure such as transaction or portosystemic anastomosis. Patients may also be treated with an infusion of sodium morrhuate. These treatments can cause adverse reactions, including dysphagia and odynophagia.
Patients with esophageal varices should be given emergency treatment, as hemodynamic instability can cause shock. Emergency treatment may include vasopressors and endoscopic procedures.
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