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Protective Effect of Probiotics against Esophagogastric Variceal Rebleeding in Patients with Liver Cirrhosis after Endoscopic Therapy

Qun Zhang, Fangyuan Gao, Xue Yang, Ying Hu, Yao Liu, Yixin Hou, Yuxin Li, Bingbing Zhu, Shuaishuai Niu, Yunyi Huang, Xianbo Wang

Center of Integrative Medicine, Beijing Ditan Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing, China (mainland)

Med Sci Monit 2020; 26:e924040

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.924040

Available online: 2020-06-12

Published: 2020-08-08

BACKGROUND: Probiotic therapy has been shown to be beneficial against some liver diseases. However, there is still uncertainty regarding the clinical efficacy of probiotics for the treatment of variceal rebleeding. This research explored the efficacy of probiotics in variceal rebleeding.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: This was a retrospective study of 704 consecutive patients with liver cirrhosis who recovered from esophagogastric variceal bleeding after endoscopic treatment. Patients were subdivided into a probiotics cohort (n=214) and a non-probiotics cohort (n=490) based on the cumulative defined daily dose (cDDD) of probiotics received during follow-up. Propensity score matching was utilized to obtain a relatively balanced cohort of 200 patients per group for the analysis. Patients were monitored for rebleeding during the one-year follow-up.
RESULTS: Multivariate Cox regression analysis revealed that probiotic therapy (≥28cDDD) was an independent protector against rebleeding (AHR=0.623; 95% CI=0.488-0.795; P<0.001). After propensity score matching, Kaplan-Meier analysis revealed that the rebleeding rate was higher in the non-probiotics cohort (n=200) than in the probiotics cohort (n=200) (56.0% vs. 44.0%, P=0.002). The incidence of rebleeding decreased with increased probiotic dosage (56.0%, 48.5%, 43.3%, and 38.1% in <28 cDDD, 28-60 cDDD, 61-90 cDDD, and >90 cDDD groups, respectively; P=0.011). The median rebleeding interval in the probiotics cohort (n=95) was significantly longer than that in the non-probiotics cohort (n=261) (147.0 vs. 91.0 days; P<0.001).
CONCLUSIONS: Adjuvant probiotic therapy significantly reduced the incidence of variceal rebleeding and delayed rebleeding after endotherapy in patients with cirrhosis.

Keywords: Esophageal and Gastric Varices, Liver Cirrhosis, Probiotics, Recurrence