1Section of Digestive Diseases, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT; Section of Digestive Diseases, VA-CT Healthcare System, West Haven, CT. Electronic address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
2Hepatic Hemodynamic Lab, Hospital Clínic-IDIBAPS, University of Barcelona; Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Enfermedades Hepáticas y Digestivas (CIBERehd).
The management of portal hypertension in cirrhosis has evolved over time leading to improvements in the care and survival of patients with varices and variceal hemorrhage, particularly in those who achieve a significant reduction in portal pressure. In addition to better treatment strategies and improved therapeutic options, the issue of risk stratification has become essential to identify different patient subpopulations that require a different treatment. We now recognize that the management of varices and variceal hemorrhage must be taken in the context of other complications of cirrhosis (ascites, encephalopathy, jaundice) and that the goals of therapy should be based on the presence of such complications. Evolving knowledge of the predominant pathophysiological mechanisms at each of the stages of cirrhosis has also evolved and will continue to lead to improvements in therapy. This review focuses on the management of varices and variceal hemorrhage vis-à-vis refinements in the risk stratification of patients with cirrhosis.