Effects of All-oral Anti-viral Therapy on HVPG and Systemic Hemodynamics in Patients with Hepatitis C Virus-associated Cirrhosis.Lens S, Alvarado E, Mariño Z, Londoño MC, LLop E, Martinez J, Fortea JI, Ibañez L, Ariza X, Baiges A, Gallego A, Bañares R, Puente A, Albillos A, Calleja JL, Torras X, Hernández-Gea V, Bosch J, Villanueva C, Forns X, García-Pagán JC. Gastroenterology. 2017 Jul 19. [Epub ahead of print]

BACKGROUND & AIMS:Patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV)-associated cirrhosis and clinical significant portal hypertension (CSPH, hepatic venous pressure gradient [HVPG] 10 mmHg or greater), despite achieving sustained virological response (SVR) to therapy, remain at risk of liver decompensation. We investigated hemodynamic changes following SVR in patients with CSPH and whether liver stiffness measurements (LSMs) can rule out the presence of CSPH.

METHODS:We performed a multicenter prospective study of 226 patients with HCV-associated cirrhosis and CSPH who had SVR to interferon-free therapy at 6 Liver Units in Spain. The portal pressure gradient was determined based on HVPG at baseline and 24 weeks after therapy; patients also underwent right-heart catheterization and LSM at these timepoints. Primary outcomes were effects of SVR on the hepatic, pulmonary, and systemic hemodynamics; factors related to HVPG≥10% reduction and to CSPH persistence; and whether LSMs can rule out the presence of CSPH after SVR.RESULTS:Most patients (75%) had esophageal varices, 21% were Child-B, and 29% had at least 1 previous episode of liver decompensation. Overall, HVPG decreased from 15 (IQR:12-18) before treatment to 13 (10-16) mmHg after SVR (reduction of 2.1±3.2 mmHg; P<.01). However, CSPH persisted in 78% of patients. HVPG decreased by 10% or more from baseline in 140 patients (62%). Baseline level of albumin below 3.5g/dL was the only negative factor associated with an HVPG reduction of 10% or more. LSM decreased from 27 (20-37) kPa before treatment to 18 (14-28) kPa after SVR (p<.05). One-third of patients with a reduction in LSM to below 13.6 kPa after SVR still had CSPH. A higher baseline HVPG and a lower decrease in LSM after treatment were associated with persistence of CSPH after SVR. Systemic hemodynamics improved after SVR. Interestingly, pulmonary hypertension was present in 13 patients at baseline and 25 after SVR, although only 3 patients had increased pulmonary resistance.CONCLUSIONS:In a multicenter prospective study of patients with HCV-associated cirrhosis, an SVR to all-oral therapy significantly reduced HVPG, compared with before treatment. Nevertheless, CSPH persists in most patients despite SVR, indicating persistent risk of decompensation. In this population, changes in LSM do not correlate with HVPG and cutoff values are not reliable in ruling out CSPH after SVR.

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