[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
November 1974

Transthoracoesophageal Ligation of Bleeding Esophageal VaricesA Reappraisal

Arch Surg. 1974;109(5):688-692. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1974.01360050082018

Transthoracoesophageal ligation of bleeding esophageal varices was carried out in 55 patients with a survival of 71%. All good-risk patients (Child criteria) survived; 75% of moderate-risk patients and 48% of poor-risk patients survived. Nine patients underwent exploratory surgery for recurrent variceal bleeding following a portosystemic shunt, and 46 patients underwent variceal ligation as the first step of a two-stage procedure for the control of bleeding esophageal varices. Sixty-four percent of the latter group had a subsequent portosystemic shunt, usually of the splenorenal type, to avoid encephalopathy and liver failure associated with portacaval shunt. Group A and B patients had 52% cumulative survival at five years and 24% cumulative survival at ten years. Transthoracoesophageal ligation of varices, followed preferably by an end-to-side splenorenal shunt and splenectomy, remains the most satisfactory method for the control of esophageal bleeding secondary to Laënnec cirrhosis.