What is the long-term prognosis (outlook) for people who have bleeding esophageal varices?
Bleeding esophageal varices is life-threatening condition and can be fatal in up to 50% of patients. People who have had an episode of bleeding esophageal varices are at risk for bleeding again.
Treatment with variceal ligation is effective in controlling first-time bleeding episodes in about 90% of patients. However, about half of patients treated with variceal ligation will have another episode of bleeding within 1 to 2 years. Medication and lifestyle changes can help reduce the risk of recurrence (return of bleeding).
Liver transplant many be an option for patients who have severe cirrhosis and/or repeated episodes of bleeding varices. Liver transplant is only performed at selected centers around the country that meet very strict criteria.