Rubber band ligation of hemorrhoids: is the procedure effective for the immunocompromised, hemophiliacs and pregnant women?

Authors Georgios Stavrou, Georgios Tzikos, Petra Malliou, Stavros Panidis, Katerina Kotzampassi.


Background Rubber band ligation (RBL) is an effective, well-established, non-surgical option for symptomatic grade II-III hemorrhoid treatment. However, few reports exist about the benefit and risks of RBL in high-risk patients. We herein evaluated the effectiveness and safety of RBL in hemophiliac, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-positive and pregnant patients vs. other patients.

Methods We retrospectively evaluated the effectiveness of RBL, during the period 2001-2021, in 3 distinct patient categories deemed high-risk and thus not suitable for anesthesia and/or surgical management of their hemorrhoids: hemophiliacs, HIV-positive patients, and pregnant women. These were compared to matched controls, selected from our outpatient pool, who had no major comorbidities and who had opted for RBL as the primary method of treatment.

Results There were 3 study groups (44 with hemophilia, 29 HIV-positive patients, and 45 pregnant women) and controls respectively matched for grade, sex and age (2 for each one in the study groups). Hemophilia patients needed up to 6 RBL sessions for relief of symptoms (3.22 sessions/ patient) compared to controls, who needed up to 4 sessions (1.88 sessions/patient, P<0.001); in the other 2 groups there was no difference. There were 3 minor complications: one minor bleeding in a hemophilia patient, a thrombosis in an HIV-positive patient, and severe rectal pain in a control patient. Patients were followed-up for at least 1 year.

Conclusion RBL is a safe and effective procedure in hemophiliacs, HIV-positive patients and pregnant women, with low complication rates for grade I-III hemorrhoids, similar to those in healthy matched controls.

Keywords Hemorrhoids, rubber band ligation, hemophilia, human immunodeficiency virus, pregnancy

Ann Gastroenterol 2022; 35 (5): 509-513

Original Articles