Guideline adherence and outcomes in esophageal variceal hemorrhage: Comparison of tertiary care and non-tertiary care settings

Barry Schlansky, Brent Lee, Laurel Hartwell, Jennifer Urquhart, Brian Willis, Atif Zaman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Implementation of consensus guidelines for esophageal variceal hemorrhage yields improved outcomes. We evaluated guideline adherence and outcomes after variceal hemorrhage at a university hospital (UH) and a staff-model health maintenance organization (HMO). STUDY: Factors associated with short-term bleeding, infection, and death were retrospectively identified in UH (n=160) and HMO (n=123) patients with esophageal variceal hemorrhage from January 2000 to December 2006. A second analysis of factors associated with long-term rebleeding was conducted in patients who survived ≥14 days without rebleeding. RESULTS: UH patients were younger, with more severe liver disease and overall illness (P<0.01). UH patients more often received vasoactive agents and prophylactic antibiotics (P<0.01), however the rate of endoscopic therapy did not differ. Infections at 14-days were similar (18.2% vs. 13.0%, P=0.25), but UH patients had greater in-hospital rebleeding (16.4% vs. 5.7%, P<0.01) and mortality (15.2% vs. 4.1%, P<0.01). Poor liver function and overall illness predicted infection, rebleeding, and death (adjusted odds ratio 2.75 to 13.39). Long-term rebleeding occurred in 36.1% of UH patients and 25.9% of HMO patients. Secondary prophylaxis reduced late rebleeding (hazard ratio 0.37 to 0.41). Poor liver function did not predict late rebleeding. Adherence to secondary prophylaxis was greater at the HMO (P<0.05), but late rebleeding did not differ (36% vs. 26%, P=0.13). CONCLUSIONS: Irrespective of practice setting, poor liver function and critical illness predicted short-term bleeding, infection, and death after esophageal variceal hemorrhage, and secondary prophylaxis prevented long-term rebleeding. Differing guideline adherence did not influence outcomes between tertiary care and non-tertiary care centers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)235-242
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of clinical gastroenterology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2012


  • Varices
  • cirrhosis
  • gastrointestinal bleeding

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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