Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2021 Feb 8. doi: 10.1111/apt.16283. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: Early identification of risk for decompensation in clinically stable cirrhotic patients helps specialists target early interventions and supports effective referrals from primary care providers to specialty centres.
AIMS: To examine whether the HepQuant-SHUNT test (HepQuant LLC, Greenwood Village, Colorado, USA) predicts decompensation and the need for liver transplantation, hospitalisation or liver-related death.
METHODS: Thirty-five compensated and 35 subjects with a previous episode of decompensation underwent the SHUNT Test and were followed for a median of 4.2 years. The disease severity index (DSI) (range 0-50) was examined for association with decompensation in compensated patients; and liver transplantation, liver-related death, and the number and days of liver related hospitalisations in all. DSI prediction of decompensation was also evaluated in 84 subjects with compensated cirrhosis from the Hepatitis C Antiviral Long-Term Treatment against Cirrhosis Trial (HALT-C) followed for a median of 5.8 years.
RESULTS: At baseline, subjects with prior decompensation had significantly higher DSI than compensated subjects (32.6 vs 20.9, P < 0.001). DSI ≥24 distinguished the decompensated from the compensated patients and independently predicted adverse clinical outcomes (hazard ratio: 4.92, 95% confidence interval: 1.42-17.06). In the HALT-C cohort, 65% with baseline DSI ≥24 vs 19% with DSI <24 experienced adverse clinical outcomes (relative risk 3.45, P < 0.0001).
CONCLUSIONS: The SHUNT test is a novel, noninvasive test that predicts risk of decompensation in previously compensated patients. DSI ≥24 is independently associated with risk for clinical decompensation, liver transplantation, death and hospitalisation.