OBJECTIVE To develop non-invasive laboratory variables for the identification of esophageal varices in patients with cirrhosis at Digestive Disease Center, Shifa International Hospital, Islamabad. PATIENTS AND METHODS All patients with chronic viral hepatitis who presented to the Gastroenterology Division between July 2002 to July 2003 were enrolled in the study. All patients with a diagnosis of Chronic Hepatitis who had platelet counts of 140,000, I.N.R of greater than 1.5 and portal vein (PV) diameter of 13 mm or greater were included in the study. All patients underwent endoscopy to see the presence of varices which were graded following the standard criteria RESULTS Of 140 patients, 100 (71%) were males and 40 (29%) females. Esophageal varices were present in 70% of the patients while 30% had no varices. CONCLUSION It was seen that using the standard criteria of a PV diameter 13 mm, I.N.R 1.5 and platelet counts 100,000 for the diagnosis of portal hypertension about 70% patients had endoscopic evidence of esophageal varices. As prophylactic beta blockers are recommended to reduce the chances of a bleed from esophageal varices therefore it is suggested that endoscopy should be done only in patients who fulfill the standard criteria of portal hypertension and those found to have varices should be put on beta blockers.