Gastric antral vascular ectasia in cirrhotic patients: absence of relation with portal hypertension

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Abstract

Background

Portal hypertensive gastropathy and gastric antral vascular ectasia (GAVE) are increasingly recognised as separate entities. The pathogenic role of portal hypertension for the development of GAVE is still controversial.

Aims

To evaluate the effects of portal decompression on chronic bleeding related to GAVE in cirrhotic patients.

Methods

Eight patients with cirrhosis and chronic blood loss related to GAVE were included. GAVE was defined endoscopically and histologically.

Results

All patients had severe portal hypertension (mean portocaval gradient (PCG) 26 mm Hg) and chronic low grade bleeding. Seven patients underwent transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS) and one had an end to side portacaval shunt. Rebleeding occurred in seven patients. In these, TIPS was found to be occluded after 15 days in one patient; in the other six, the shunt was patent and the PCG was below 12 mm Hg in five. In the responder, PCG was 16 mm Hg. Antrectomy was performed in four non-responders; surgery was uneventful, and they did not rebleed after surgery, but two died 11 and 30 days postoperatively from multiorgan failure. In one patient, TIPS did not control GAVE related bleeding despite a notable decrease in PCG. This patient underwent liver transplantation 14 months after TIPS; two months after transplantation, bleeding had stopped and the endoscopic appearance of the antrum had normalised.

Conclusions

Results suggest that GAVE is not directly related to portal hypertension, but is influenced by the presence of liver dysfunction. Antrectomy is a therapeutic option when chronic bleeding becomes a significant problem but carries a risk of postoperative mortality.

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