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In the 10 year period from 1964 through 1973, 25 patients bleeding from esophageal varices underwent ligation procedures coupled with splenectomy rather than a shunt. These procedures included the transesophageal and transgastric approaches and extragastric legations. For patients with normal liver function, the risk of this urgent or emergency surgery is comparatively low (two of 12 patients died). The chance of recurrent hemorrhage is high (nine of nine surviving patients), as is the need for subsequent surgery (eight of nine patients). Nevertheless, despite these drawbacks, nine of these 12 patients (75 percent) are alive, and seven have survived 5 or more years. In patients with cirrhosis, the initial operative mortality rate (three of 12 patients) and the subsequent mortality rate (five additional patients) reflect the greater risk because of liver disease. Only five of 13 patients (38 percent) survive, three of whom are alive 5 or more years after their initial surgery. These results indicate that there are situations when ligation procedures are valuable, especially in the noncirrhotic patient.
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Accepted: May 11, 1976
© 1977 Published by Elsevier Inc.