Invasive and non-invasive assessment of portal hypertension.

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Portal hypertension is the central driver of complications in patients with chronic liver diseases and cirrhosis. The diagnosis of portal hypertension has important prognostic and clinical implications. In particular, screening for varices in patients with portal hypertension can effectively reduce the morbidity and mortality of variceal bleeding. In this article, we review the invasive and non-invasive methods to assess portal hypertension. Hepatic venous pressure gradient remains the gold standard to measure portal pressure but is invasive and seldom performed outside expert centers and research settings. In recent years, a number of non-invasive tests of fibrosis have shown good correlation with liver histology. They also show promise in identifying patients with portal hypertension and large varices. As a result, the latest Baveno VI consensus guidelines endorse the use of liver stiffness measurement by transient elastography and platelet count as initial assessment to select patients for varices screening. On the other hand, the performance of non-invasive tests in assessing the response to non-selective beta-blockers or transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunting is either suboptimal or unclear.

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