Spleen stiffness: a new tool to predict high-risk varices in cirrhotic patients

Link to article at PubMed

J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2023 Sep 1. doi: 10.1111/jgh.16344. Online ahead of print.


INTRODUCTION: Cirrhosis is one of the major causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Portal hypertension is the major contributor of cirrhosis-related complications and is defined as a hepatic venous pressure gradient (HVPG) > 5 mmHg. Measurement of HVPG is an invasive, difficult, and costly procedure. Therefore, it is only performed in specialized centers. Liver stiffness measured with transient elastography is one of the most studied noninvasive markers of portal hypertension, and spleen elastography has recently emerged as an important adjuvant tool. The development of a new probe (100 Hz) that more reliably reflect the grade of portal hypertension evaluated by spleen stiffness measurement has improved the accuracy of this technique. The aim of this work was to evaluate the accuracy of spleen stiffness with the new dedicated probe to predict the presence of high-risk varices, as well as to determine the ideal cutoff to predict it.

METHODS: Prospective study of cirrhotic patients admitted to upper endoscopy that were also submitted to liver and spleen elastography with the 100-Hz probe by the same blinded operator in a tertiary center.

RESULTS: We included 209 cirrhotic patients, with mean age of 61.9 years (±9.9), 77.0% male. The most common etiology was alcoholic liver disease (72.7%). The median value of liver elastography was 25.3 [4.5-75] kPa, and the median value of spleen elastography was 42.4 [7.6-100] kPa. At the cutoff of 53.25 kPa, we obtained sensitivity of 100% and specificity of 72.6% to predict high-risk varices, and, according to this cutoff, 133/175 of esophagogastroduodenoscopy could have been spared (76.0%), while according to Baveno guidelines, only 51/175 would have been spared (29.1%).

CONCLUSION: In the era of noninvasive exams, spleen elastography with the 100-Hz probe emerges as an excellent tool for prediction of presence of high-risk varices. At the cutoff of 53.25 kPa, spleen elastography avoids upper endoscopy for screening for high-risk varices, promising to be become part of the hepatologists' daily routine.

PMID:37655720 | DOI:10.1111/jgh.16344

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