Insulin resistance is associated with esophageal varices in alcoholic liver disease patients

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Abstract

Background and aim

Insulin resistance plays an important role in chronic liver disease, where it has been associated with the progression of fibrosis and correlated with portal hypertension in cirrhotic patients with mixed etiology. However, the impact of insulin resistance in alcoholic liver disease remains mostly unknown. The aim of this study was to evaluate the association between insulin resistance, portal hypertension, severity of liver disease, and mortality in patients with alcoholic cirrhosis.

Patients and methods

A total of 106 consecutive alcoholic cirrhotic patients undergoing hepatic venous pressure gradient measurement at Erasme Hospital were included. Insulin resistance was estimated using the homeostatic model assessment-2 index.

Results

The median model for end-stage liver disease (MELD) score was 15 (9–21) and the mean hepatic venous pressure gradient was16.3±6 mmHg. Twenty-six percent of the patients had compensated cirrhosis. Insulin resistance was significantly associated with portal hypertension in compensated cirrhotic patients and with the presence of esophageal varices, but was not associated with the MELD score and mortality. MELD score was the only independent covariate associated with mortality at 6 (P<0.001) and 12 months (P<0.001).

Conclusion

Insulin resistance is associated with the presence of esophageal varices, suggesting that the presence of insulin resistance could be harmful to alcoholic liver disease patients.

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