Drug Discov Ther. 2019;13(2):108-113. (DOI: 10.5582/ddt.2019.01009)

Impact of non-selective beta blockers on portal hypertension and hepatic elasticity in hepatitis C virus-related liver cirrhosis.

Zaghloul SG, Wahab EA, Seleem WM, Hanafy AS, Gomaa AF, Lakouz K, Amin AI


Portal hypertension and its complications are the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in patients with liver cirrhosis. Noninvasive assessment of liver stiffness had been an effective tool for assessment of fibrosis progression in chronic liver disease. It was intended to assess liver stiffness measurement (LSM), portal vein diameter (PVD), splenic bipolar diameter (SD), and the platelet count/spleen diameter (PC/SD) ratio in patients who test positive for the hepatitis C virus (HCV) and to study the impact of non-selective beta blockers (NSBB) on the grade of esophageal varices (EVs) and liver elasticity. Subjects were 80 patients with Child-Pugh grade A or B compensated cirrhosis who tested positive for HCV. All of the patients underwent a laboratory workup including AFP, HCV antibodies, HCV RNA, HBsAg, LSM according to real-time elastography, upper gastrointestinal endoscopy (UGIE) to detect and grade EVs, calculation of the PC/SD ratio, and measurement of the PVD and SD according to real-time abdominal ultrasonography. All patients were given the maximum tolerated dose of NSBB for three months, and UGIE, LSM, PC/SD, PVD, and SD were subsequently reassessed and reported. LSM and the PC/SD ratio were exceptional noninvasive tools for prediction of significant EVs (grade ≥ II, p < 0.001) with a sensitivity 82.4% and a specificity 82.6% at a cutoff point 18 kPa for LSM, and a sensitivity 94.1% and specificity 69.6% at a cutoff point 880 for the PC/SD ratio. LSM is highly correlated with PVD, the PC/SD ratio, SD, and the Child-Pugh score. NSBB significantly decreased PVD. The percent change in PVD significantly correlated with LSM, the grade of EVs, and SD. Findings indicated that LSM is a noninvasive, rapid, and reproducible tool with which to detect portal hypertension and EVs. NSBB therapy can effectively decrease PVD and may consequently improve the EV grade with no significant impact on LSM in patients with liver cirrhosis.

KEYWORDS: Liver stiffness measurement, portal hypertension, esophageal varices, non-selective beta blockers

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