Short article: Noninvasive assessment of portal hypertension and detection of esophageal varices in cirrhosis
Portal hypertension (PHT) is a major consequence of any chronic liver disease and it is the main cause of complications in patients with cirrhosis. Measurement of hepatic vein pressure gradient is considered the gold standard for PHT assessment, together with its diagnosis and prognosis relevance. Even though hepatic vein pressure gradient measurement is a safe procedure, it is still considered an invasive technique and not widely available. There is thus a need for noninvasive methods that can predict the progression of PHT as well as the presence and the risk of complications related to esophageal varices. This review aimed to discuss the noninvasive markers used in the assessment of PHT and detection of high-risk esophageal varices in patients with liver cirrhosis. We focus on the main biomarkers, particularly those used in the routine assessment of chronic liver disease, and the physical methods that use tissue elastography as a diagnosis tool.