Bleeding esophageal varices in pregnancy. A report of two cases.
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Hemorrhage from esophageal varices during pregnancy in women with cirrhosis is a rare occurrence with a high mortality rate. Two such women, previously treated surgically for bleeding varices, one with additional sclerotherapy, had massive hemorrhages at 35 weeks necessitating cesarean section for fetal distress. Both neonates were healthy. One woman died one week postpartum. Pregnancy does not appear detrimental to the maternal prognosis despite the theoretical probability of raised portal pressure. About 70% of those with demonstrable varices will bleed during pregnancy; the overall mortality rate is 20%. Endoscopy and sclerotherapy before and in early pregnancy may help reduce the mortality rate. An awareness of the possibility of unpredictable bleeding and of the available treatments in a pregnant woman with esophageal varices is essential.
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