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HPB Surgery
Volume 10 (1996), Issue 1, Pages 1-6

Octreotide in the Control of Post-Sclerotherapy Bleeding from Oesophageal Varices, Ulcers and Oesophagitis

1University Department of Surgery, Royal Liverpool University Hospital, Prescot Street, Liverpool L7 8XP, UK
2Academic Department of Surgery, Postgraduate Medical School, Morriston Hospital, Swansea SA6 6NL, United Kingdom

Received 1 November 1995

Copyright © 1996 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Bleeding from oesophageal varices, oesophageal ulcers or oesophagitis is occasionally massive and difficult to control. Octreotide, a synthetic analogue of somatostin lowers portal pressure and collateral blood flow including that through varices, increases lower oesophageal sphincter pressure, and inhibits the gastric secretion of acid as well as pepsin. Our current experience suggests it is effective in controlling acute variceal haemorrhage. Therefore we have examined the efficacy of octreotide in the control of postsclerotherapy bleeding from oesophageal varices, oesophageal ulcers and oesophagitis. During the study period 77 patients experienced a significant gastrointestinal bleed (blood pressure < 100 mm Hg, pulse > 100 beats per min or the need to transfuse 2 or more units of blood to restore the haemoglobin level) following injection sclerotherapy of oesophageal varices. The source of bleeding was varices in 42 patients, oesophageal ulcers in 31 and oesophagitis in 4. All patients received a continuous intravenous infusion of octreotide (50 μg/h) for between 40–140h. If bleeding was not controlled in the first 12h after commencing octreotide hourly bolus doses (50 μg) for 24h were superimposed on the continuous infusion. Haemorrhage was successfully controlled by an infusion of octreotide in 38 of the 42 patients with bleeding from varices, in 30 of 31 patients with oesophageal ulceration, and all patients with oesophagitis. In the 1 patient with persistent bleeding from oesophageal ulceration and in 2 of the 4 with continued haemorrhage from varices, haemostasis was achieved by hourly boluses of 50 μg octreotide for 24h in addition to the continuous infusion. No major complications were associated with octreotide administration. The results of this study clearly indicate that octreotide is a safe and effective treatment for the control of severe haemorrhage after technically successful injection sclerotherapy.