Hepatic venous pressure gradient to assess fibrosis and its progression after liver transplantation for HCV cirrhosis

Dimitrios N Samonakis, Evangelos Cholongitas, Ulrich Thalheimer, George Kalambokis, Alberto Quaglia, Christos K Triantos, Maria Mela, Penelope Manousou, Marco Senzolo, Amar Paul Dhillon, David Patch, Andrew Kenneth Burroughs
Liver Transplantation 2007, 13 (9): 1305-11
Progression of fibrosis following recurrent hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is frequent after liver transplantation (LT). Histology remains the gold standard to assess fibrosis, but the value of hepatic venous pressure gradient (HVPG) is being explored. We evaluated patients with recurrent HCV infection after LT to assess whether HVPG correlates with liver histology, particularly fibrosis. A total of 90 consecutive patients underwent 170 HVPG measurements concomitant with transjugular liver biopsy (TJB), with 31.5 (range, 6-156) months of follow up. Median biopsy length was 22 mm and total portal tract count was 12 (complete 6, partial 6). Median HVPG was 4 mmHg: 38% of patients > or =6 mmHg (portal hypertension, PHT), 13% > or =10 mmHg. HVPG correlated with Ishak stage (r = 0.73, P < 0.001) for mild (0-3) and severe fibrosis (4-6), and grade score (r = 0.47, P < 0.001), but neither correlated with interval from LT nor biopsy length. HVPG was > or =10 mmHg in 15 patients: 12 had stage 5 or 6, and 3 severe portal expansion. HVPG was repeated in 49, between 7 and 60 months with weak correlation to fibrosis score (r = 0.30, P = 0.045). A total of 12 patients with HVPG > or =6 mmHg had fibrosis score < or =3, while 8 patients had normal HVPG but fibrosis stage > or =4. These discrepancies were mostly associated with specific histological features such as perisinusoidal fibrosis rather than errors in measuring HVPG. In 29 with HVPG <6 mmHg at 1 yr, none decompensated compared to 4 of 13 (31%) with PHT. In conclusion, HVPG correlates with fibrosis and its progression, due to recurrent HCV infection, assessed in TJB.

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