A Multicenter Evaluation of Adherence to 4 Major Elements of the Baveno Guidelines and Outcomes for Patients With Acute Variceal Hemorrhage

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Article, Peer-reviewed

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To determine the rate of and outcomes associated with guideline adherence in the care of acute variceal hemorrhage (AVH).


Four major elements of high-quality care for AVH defined by the Baveno consensus (VI) include timely endoscopy (≤12 h), antibiotics, and somatostatin analogs before endoscopy and band ligation as primary therapy for esophageal varices.


We retrospectively evaluated 239 consecutive admissions of 211 patients with AVH admitted to 2 centers in Massachusetts from 2010 to 2015. The primary outcome was 6-week mortality; secondary outcomes included treatment failure (shock, hemoglobin drop by 3 g/dL, hematemesis, death ≤5 d), length of stay, and 30-day readmission.


Guideline adherence was variable: endoscopy ≤12 hours (79.9%), antibiotics (84.9%), band ligation (78.7%), and somatostatin analogs (90.8%). However, only 150 (62.8%) received care that was adherent to all indicated criteria. The 6-week mortality rate was 22.6%. Treatment failure occurred in 50 (21.0%) admissions. Among the 198 patients who survived to discharge, 41 (20.7%) were readmitted within 30 days. Octreotide before endoscopy was associated with a reduction in 30-day readmission (18.4% vs. 42.1%; P=0.03), whereas banding of esophageal varices was associated with a reduced risk of treatment failure (15.0% vs. 50.0%; P≤0.001). However, adherence to quality metrics did not significantly reduce the risk of death within 6 weeks.


Adherence to quality metrics may not reduce the risk of mortality but could improve secondary outcomes of AVH. Variation in practice should be addressed through quality improvement interventions.