Research Article

Management of bleeding varices in the elderly.

BMJ 1989; 298 doi: (Published 21 January 1989) Cite this as: BMJ 1989;298:152
  1. S. W. Hosking,
  2. N. C. Bird,
  3. A. G. Johnson,
  4. D. R. Triger
  1. University Department of Surgery, Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Sheffield.


    In 207 consecutive patients the outcome of bleeding varices was compared in those aged under 65 (n = 146) and those aged over 65 (n = 61). All patients were seen during seven years and were treated by active initial and maintenance sclerotherapy. Alcoholic cirrhosis was commoner in younger patients (68 (47%) v 12 (20%] and cryptogenic cirrhosis commoner in older patients (21 (34%) v 19 (13%]. Mortality due to the first bleed was dependent on the severity of liver disease and was unrelated to age. Survival corrected for age (life table analysis) was 65% at one year and 60% at two years for both groups of patients. It is concluded that patients should not be denied active treatment for bleeding varices on the basis of age alone. In order to obtain optimum results early endoscopy and sclerotherapy is essential.