Esophageal varices are swollen veins in the lining of the lower esophagus near the stomach. Esophageal varices almost always occur in people who have cirrhosis of the liver. Symptoms: Vomiting blood • Black, tarry or bloody stools • Shock (in severe case).
Sclerotherapy: A drug is injected into the bleeding vein, causing it to constrict (narrow). This slows the bleeding and allows a blood clot to form over the ruptured vessel. Carvedilol is effective for cirrhotic patients with esophageal varices.
Emergency treatment for bleeding esophageal varices begins with blood and fluids given intravenously (into a vein) to compensate for blood loss. At the same time, intravenous drugs may be given to decrease blood flow to the intestine. Efforts are then made to stop the bleeding. Endoscopy is done to identify the site of the bleeding. If the bleeding is caused by ruptured esophageal varices, one of two endoscopic treatments may be used: Band ligation: A rubber band is used to tie off the bleeding portion of the vein.