King's Variceal Prediction Score: A Novel Noninvasive Marker of Portal Hypertension in Pediatric Chronic Liver Disease

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Background and Aims:Variceal haemorrhage can be a life-threatening complication of chronic liver disease in children. There is limited evidence about the optimal prophylactic management and selection criteria of children who will benefit from upper gastrointestinal endoscopy.Methods:Children presenting in our centre with suspected portal hypertension or gastrointestinal bleeding and undergoing their first oesophagogastroduodenoscopy between 2005 and 2012 were included. Clinical, biochemical, and radiological data were collected. A separate validation cohort from May 2013 to October 2014 was obtained.Results:Data on 124 treatment-naïve patients were collected; 50% had biliary atresia. Thirty-five (28%) children presented with gastrointestinal bleeding and overall 79 (64%) had clinically significant (grade II–III) varices. Clinical prediction rule, aspartate aminotransferase-platelet ratio index, and varices prediction rule had at optimal cut-off sensitivity and specificity of 76% and 59%, 60% and 55%, and 80% and 59%, respectively. Logistic regression yielded a new prediction rule of (3 × albumin ([g/dL]) −  (2 − equivalent adult spleen size [cm]). This King's variceal prediction score had a favourable areas under the curve of 0.772 (0.677–0.867) compared to clinical prediction rule 0.732 (0.632–0.832). At the optimal cut-off of 76 this yielded a sensitivity and specificity of 72% and 73% and a positive and negative predictive value of 82% and 60%, respectively. In the validation cohort areas under the curve was 0.818 (0.654–0.995) with sensitivity and specificity of 78% and 73%, respectively.Conclusions:Our new prediction score may be a useful tool in the selection of children with clinically significant varices eligible for a screening endoscopy.

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