This article describes the aetiology of oesophageal varices, the variety of treatment options available and the physiological and psychological nursing needs of patients undergoing these treatment regimes. Its purpose is to produce a balanced overview, looking at nursing care in the acute period and the long-term support required to meet the complex needs of these patients and their carers. After reading this article you should be able to: Identify what lifestyle risk factors are associated with patients who have oesophageal varices. Describe the underlying physiology that promotes the development of oesophageal varices. State what treatment options are available and their associated complications. Recognise the needs of carers and staff when attending to this client group. Prepare an action plan for the long-term support of a patient prone to further bleeding episodes.