Background: There is a paucity of good quality research about the diagnosis of esophageal varices and the prophylaxis and treatment of variceal bleeding in pediatric patients with portal hypertension There is little consensus and practically no evidence-based approach about the management of these patients. Aim: To describe the behavior and preferences of pediatric gastroenterologists in Chile in the management of portal hypertension in children. Material and methods: An online survey was sent to Chilean pediatric gastroenterologists, with questions evaluating the physicians’ approaches to screening of esophageal varices in children with portal hypertension, and their preferred methods of prophylaxis and initial management of variceal bleeding. Results: Thirty five of 69 contacted physicians answered the survey (51%). Twenty nine pediatric gastroenterologists (83%) screen for esophageal varices in patients with clinical evidence of portal hypertension, and 12 (34%) in every patient with chronic liver disease. Twenty eight respondents (80%) use primary prophylaxis, mainly beta blockers. Octreotide, proton pump inhibitors and endoscopy are the most common practices in the initial management of an esophageal varix bleed. The methods mostly used as secondary prophylaxis are band ligation and beta blockers. In the case of recurrent hemorrhage, besides band ligation, management with Transjugular Intrahepatic Portosystemic Shunt (TIPS) and hepatic transplantation are more likely. Conclusions: Even though most pediatric gastroenterologists in this survey are inclined to offer endoscopic screening of esophageal varices and prophylaxis to patients with portal hypertension, this is not a universal behavior. There are different approaches mainly in the election of secondary prophylaxis and the initial management of variceal bleeding.
Diagnosis; Esophageal and Gastric Varices; Hypertension, Portal; Pediatrics; Primary Prevention; Secondary Prevention