The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has issued full guidance to the NHS in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland on Stent insertion for bleeding oesophageal varices.

It replaces the previous guidance on stent insertion for bleeding oesophageal varices (NICE interventional procedures guidance 265, June 2008).  


People who drink heavily or who have hepatitis C may develop liver cirrhosis (scarring). This may cause bleeding arising from swollen veins in the gullet (oesophagus), which is potentially life threatening. This procedure involves temporary insertion of a tube-shaped mesh covered in plastic (called a stent) into the oesophagus. The stent is expanded to the width of the gullet so that it presses against the veins with the aim of stopping the bleeding. The stent is removed within 2 weeks.

Coding recommendations

One of the following OPCS-4 codes is selected as appropriate:

G21.5 Insertion of stent into oesophagus NEC

G15.4 Fibreoptic endoscopic insertion of tubal prosthesis into oesophagus

G15.6 Fibreoptic endoscopic insertion of expanding metal stent into oesophagus NEC

G15.7 Fibreoptic endoscopic insertion of expanding covered metal stent into oesophagus

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