Liver cirrhosis may be complicated by the development of esophageal varices.
The treatment of esophageal varices has changed radically during the last 30 years.
Dr Knut Stokkeland and colleagues from Sweden studied whether the prognosis for esophageal varices had improved in Sweden.
The researchers linked data from the Hospital Discharge Register, and the Causes of Death Register at The National Board of Health between 1969 and 2002.
The research team identified and followed-up all patients with esophageal varices according to International Classification of Diseases - 8, - 9, and - 10.
There were 12,281 patients hospitalized with esophageal varices.
| Better survival occurred for women compared with men|
The team noted that for all patients there was an increase in the 5-year survival from between 1969 and 1979 to the years between 1990 and 2002.
Better survival occurred for women compared with men, and for younger patients compared with older.
The researchers found that survival was improved for patients hospitalized in the latest decade compared with the earlier decades.
The team observed a significant decrease in the mortality caused by esophageal varices during the years studied but no decrease attributable to other causes.
Dr Stokkeland's team concludes, “Mortality for patients hospitalized with esophageal varices in Sweden decreased between 1969 and 2002.”
“The decrease is seen for both 1- and 5-year mortality.”
“This suggests that the use of new treatment strategies both for acute variceal hemorrhage and secondary prophylaxis has had an impact on prognosis.”