Liver stiffness plus platelet count can be used to exclude high-risk oesophageal varices

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Abstract

Background/Aims:

Endoscopic screening for high-risk gastro-oesophageal varices (GOV) is recommended for compensated cirrhotic patients with transient elastography identifying increasing numbers of patients with cirrhosis without portal hypertension. Using liver stiffness measurement (LSM) ± platelet count, the aim was to develop a simple clinical rule to exclude the presence of high-risk GOV in patients with Child–Pugh A cirrhosis.

Methods:

A retrospective analysis of 71 patients with Child–Pugh A cirrhosis diagnosed by transient elastography (LSM >13.6 kPa) who underwent screening gastroscopy was conducted. A predictive model using LSM ± platelet count was assessed to exclude the presence of high-risk GOV (diameter >5 mm and/or the presence of high-risk stigmata) and validated using a second cohort of 200 patients from two independent centres.

Results:

High-risk GOV were present in 10 (15%) and 16 (8%) of the training and validation cohorts, respectively, which was associated with LSM and Pl count (P < 0.05). A combined model based on LSM and Pl count was more accurate for excluding the presence of high-risk GOV than either alone (training cohort AUROC: 0.87 [0.77–0.96] vs. 0.78 [0.65–0.92] for LSM and 0.71 [0.52–0.90] for platelets) with the combination of LSM ≤25 kPa and Pl ≥100 having a NPV of 100% in both the training and validation cohorts. A total of 107 (39%) patients meet this criterion.

Conclusion:

The combination of LSM ≤25 kPa and Pl ≥100 can be used in clinical practice to exclude the presence of high-risk GOV in patients with Child–Pugh A cirrhosis.

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