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Beta-blockers for Prevention Of Growth Of Small Esophageal Varices In Cirrhosis: An Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT)

This study has been completed.
Information provided by:
Govind Ballabh Pant Hospital Identifier:
First received: October 14, 2008
Last updated: December 18, 2009
Last verified: October 2008

Background and Aims: The efficacy of portal pressure reduction by beta blockers for the management of small (≤5 mm) esophageal varices in patients of cirrhosis is not clear. The present randomized controlled trial aims to address these issues. The investigators also assessed the utility of serial HVPG measurements in these patients.

Patients and Methods: Consecutive patients with cirrhosis with small varices, with no history of variceal bleed, were randomized to receive propranolol or placebo. These patients were further randomized to undergo no HVPG, only baseline HVPG, or serial HVPG measurement. Propranolol was titrated to reduce heart-rate to 55/min.

Condition Intervention
Cirrhosis Drug: Propranolol Drug: Placebo

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Single Group Assignment
Masking: Single (Participant)
Primary Purpose: Prevention
Official Title: Early Primary Prophylaxis With Beta-Blockers In Prevention Of Growth Of Small Esophageal Varices In Cirrhosis: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by Govind Ballabh Pant Hospital:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • The primary endpoint of the study was the development of large (>5 mm) esophageal varices (grade 3 or 4 by Conn's classification) [ Time Frame: 24 months ]

Secondary Outcome Measures:
  • Secondary endpoints were variceal bleeding, death, adverse effects of beta blockers, and hemodynamic response to beta-blocker in patients who underwent serial HVPG [ Time Frame: 24 months ]

Enrollment: 164
Study Start Date: October 2004
Study Completion Date: October 2008
Primary Completion Date: October 2008 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
Active Comparator: Propranolol group Drug: Propranolol
Beta-blocker (propranolol) was started at a dose of 20 mg twice daily. The principle of incremental dosing was used to achieve the target heart rate for propranolol. The dose was increased every alternate day to achieve a target heart rate of 55/min or to the maximal dose to 360 mg/day if the medication was well tolerated and the systolic blood pressure was >90 mm Hg. On the occurrence of intolerable adverse effects, systolic blood pressure <90 mm Hg or pulse rate <55/min, the dose of the medication was decreased step-wise, and eventually stopped if these adverse events persisted. Reintroduction of the medication was attempted if cessation of the medication did not result in improvement of the reported side-effect.
Placebo Comparator: Placebo group Drug: Placebo
Placebo tablets given two times daily.


Ages Eligible for Study:   12 Years to 80 Years   (Child, Adult, Senior)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  • A clinical, radiological or histologic diagnosis of cirrhosis was made
  • Age was between 18 and 70 years
  • Esophageal varices were small (i.e. ≤5 mm or of grade 1 or 2 according to Conn et al).

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Presence of previous variceal bleeding
  • Previous medical, surgical or endoscopic treatment for portal hypertension
  • Child-Pugh score >13
  • Neoplastic disease of any site
  • Splenic or portal vein thrombosis
  • Concurrent illnesses expected to decrease life expectancy to less than one year
  • Pregnancy
  • Contraindication to beta-blockers (atrioventricular block, sinus bradycardia with heart rate <50 beats per minute, arterial hypotension with systolic blood pressure <90 mm Hg, heart failure, asthma, peripheral arterial disease, or diabetes needing insulin treatment)
  • Concurrent anti-viral treatment during the study period
  • Inability to perform follow-up
  • Failure to give consent to participate in the study.
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Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT00772057

Department of Gastroenterology, G B Pant Hospital
New Delhi, Delhi, India, 110002
Sponsors and Collaborators
Govind Ballabh Pant Hospital
Principal Investigator: Shiv K Sarin, MD, DM G B Pant Hospital
  More Information

Responsible Party: Dr S K Sarin, Department of Gastroenterology, G B Pant Hospital, New Delhi, India Identifier: NCT00772057     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: 2008-PHT-02
Study First Received: October 14, 2008
Last Updated: December 18, 2009

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Liver Cirrhosis
Esophageal and Gastric Varices
Pathologic Processes
Liver Diseases
Digestive System Diseases
Esophageal Diseases
Gastrointestinal Diseases
Hypertension, Portal
Adrenergic beta-Antagonists
Adrenergic Antagonists
Adrenergic Agents
Neurotransmitter Agents
Molecular Mechanisms of Pharmacological Action
Physiological Effects of Drugs
Anti-Arrhythmia Agents
Antihypertensive Agents
Vasodilator Agents processed this record on September 21, 2017