BackgroundCurrent guidelines favour the use of bleeding stents over balloon tamponade (BT) for refractory variceal bleeding (VB) from oesophageal varices. However, data on the efficacy and safety of self-expandable metal SX-ELLA Danis stents (SEMS) are limited.
MethodsCirrhotic patients receiving SEMS for VB at four tertiary care centres were included in this retrospective multicentre study. Rates of failure-to-control bleeding (within 5 days) and bleeding-related mortality (6 weeks) were assessed.
ResultsSEMS controlled VB in 79.4% (27/34) of patients. In the rest of patients, other rescue treatments including endoscopic band ligation (EBL, n = 3), SEMS renewed (n = 2) or Linton (n = 2) were applied; however, VB was only controlled in one patient. Early rebleeding within six weeks occurred in 17.6% (6/34) patients. Median SEMS dwell time was three (IQR:6) days. Overall n = 13/34 (38.2%) patients died with SEMS in situ. After SEMS removal, rebleeding and bleeding-related death occurred in n = 7 (35%) and n = 5 (14.7%) patients respectively. Only 32.4% (10/34) patients did not experience any rebleeding within six weeks after SEMS removal. Bleeding-related mortality was 47.1% (n = 16/34) and the median survival after SEMS placement was 2.1 months. Notably, no patient received an early transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS). The most common adverse events were stent dislocations (n = 13; 38.2%), while ulcers/necrosis of the oesophageal mucosa was seen in only four (11.8%) patients.
ConclusionSEMS controlled refractory VB in most patients. However, bleeding-related mortality remained high. While SEMS dislocations were frequent, ulcers/necrosis of the oesophagus was rare. Further studies should investigate whether the wider use of early TIPS reduces bleeding-related mortality after SEMS placement.