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Background: Portal hypertension, a major complication of chronic liver disease, often leads to life-threatening variceal bleeding, managed effectively with vasoactive drugs like terlipressin. However, the most optimal method of terlipressin administration, continuous versus intermittent infusion, remains a subject of debate, necessitating this systematic review and meta-analysis for evidence-based decision-making in managing this critical condition.

Methods: This systematic review and meta-analysis adhered to the PRISMA standards and explored multiple databases until 6 April 2023, such as MEDLINE through PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science, and CENTRAL. Independent reviewers selected randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that met specific inclusion criteria. After assessing study quality and extracting necessary data, statistical analysis was performed using Review Manager (RevMan), with results presented as risk ratios (RR) or mean differences.

Results: Five RCTs (n=395 patients) were included. The continuous terlipressin group had a significantly lower risk of rebleeding (RR=0.43, P=0.0004) and treatment failure (RR=0.22, P=0.02) and fewer total adverse effects (RR=0.52, P<0.00001) compared to the intermittent group. However, there were no significant differences between the two groups in mean arterial pressure (P=0.26), length of hospital stays (P=0.78), and mortality rates (P=0.65).

Conclusion: This study provides robust evidence suggesting that continuous terlipressin infusion may be superior to intermittent infusions in reducing the risk of rebleeding, treatment failure, and adverse effects in patients with portal hypertension. However, further large-scale, high-quality RCTs are required to confirm these findings and to investigate the potential benefits of continuous terlipressin infusion on mortality and hospital stays.

(C) 2023 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.