Background

Endoscopic treatment is recommended for the management of esophageal varices. However, variceal recurrence or rebleeding is common after endoscopic variceal eradication. Our study aimed to systematically evaluate the prevalence of esophageal collateral veins (ECVs) and the association of ECVs with recurrence of esophageal varices or rebleeding from esophageal varices after endoscopic treatment.

Methods

We searched the relevant literature through the PubMed, EMBASE, and Cochrane Library databases. Prevalence of paraesophageal veins (para-EVs), periesophageal veins (peri-EVs), and perforating veins (PVs) were pooled. Risk ratio (RR) and odds ratio (OR) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated for cohort studies and case–control studies, respectively. A random-effects model was employed. Heterogeneity among studies was calculated.

Results

Among the 532 retrieved papers, 28 were included. The pooled prevalence of para-EVs, peri-EVs, and PVs in patients with esophageal varices was 73%, 88%, and 54%, respectively. The pooled prevalence of para-EVs and PVs in patients with recurrence of esophageal varices was 87% and 62%, respectively. The risk for recurrence of esophageal varices was significantly increased in patients with PVs (OR=9.79, 95% CI: 1.95–49.22, P =0.006 for eight case–control studies), but not in those with para-EVs (OR=4.26, 95% CI: 0.38–38.35, P =0.24 for four case–control studies; RR=1.81, 95% CI: 0.83–3.97, P =0.14 for three cohort studies). Patients with para-EVs had a significantly higher incidence of rebleeding from esophageal varices (RR=13.00, 95% CI: 2.43–69.56, P =0.003 for two cohort studies). Statistically significant heterogeneity was notable across the meta-analyses.

Conclusions

ECVs are common in patients with esophageal varices. Identification of ECVs could be helpful for predicting the recurrence of esophageal varices or rebleeding from esophageal varices after endoscopic treatment.

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