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Background and Aims: Carvedilol reduces rates of variceal bleeding and rebleeding by lowering portal pressure. However, an associated pleiotropic survival benefit has been proposed. We aimed to assess long-term survival in a cohort of patients previously randomised to receive either carvedilol or endoscopic band ligation (EBL) following oesophageal variceal bleeding (OVB).

Methods: The index study randomised 64 cirrhotic patients with OVB between 2006 and 2011 to receive either carvedilol or EBL. Follow-up was undertaken to April 2020 by review of electronic patient records. The primary outcome was survival. Other outcomes including variceal rebleeding and liver decompensation events were compared.

Results: 26 out of 33 participants received carvedilol in the follow-up period and 28 out of 31 attended regular EBL sessions. The median number of follow-up days for all patients recruited was 1459 (SE = 281.74). On the intention to treat analysis, there was a trend towards improved survival in the carvedilol group (p = 0.09). On per-protocol analysis, carvedilol use was associated with improved long-term survival (p = 0.005, HR 3.083, 95% CI 1.397-6.809), fewer liver-related deaths (0% vs 22.57%, p = 0.013, OR [infinity], 95%CI 1.565-[infinity]) and fewer admissions with decompensated liver disease (12% vs 64.29%, p = 0.0002, OR 13.2, 95% CI 3.026-47.23) compared to the EBL group. There was no statistically significant difference in variceal rebleeding rates.

Conclusion: Following OVB in cirrhotic patients, carvedilol use is associated with survival benefit, fewer liver-related deaths and fewer hospital admissions with decompensated liver disease. Further studies are needed to validate this finding.

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