Portal hypertension is considered as a major complication of liver cirrhosis. Endoscopy plays a main role in managing of gastrointestinal complications of portal hypertension. Endoscopists are at increased risk for COVID-19 infection because upper gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy is a high-risk aerosol-generating procedure and may be a potential route for COVID-19.
To compare the outcome between cirrhotic patients who underwent classic regular endoscopic variceal ligation after primary bleeding episode every 2–4 weeks, and those presented during the era of COVID-19 and their follow-up were postponed 2 months later.
This retrospective study included cross-matched 238 cirrhotic patients with portal hypertension presented with upper GI bleeding, 112 cirrhotic patients presented during the era of COVID19 (group A) underwent endoscopic variceal ligation, another session after 2 weeks and their subsequent follow-up was postponed 2 months later, and 126 cirrhotic patients as control (group B) underwent regular endoscopic variceal band ligation after primary bleeding episode every 2–4 weeks.
Eradication of varices was achieved in 32% of cases in group A, and 46% in group was not any statistically significant (p > 0.05); also, there was no any statistical significant difference between both groups regarding occurrence of rebleeding, post endoscopic symptoms, and mortality rate (p > 0.05).
Band ligation and injection of esophageal and gastric vary every 2 months were as effective and safe as doing it every 2 to 4 weeks after primary bleeding episode for further studies and validation.