BACKGROUND & AIMS:
Recently, Baveno VI guidelines suggested that esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) can be avoided in patients with compensated advanced chronic liver disease (cACLD) who have a liver stiffness measurement (LSM) <20 kPa and platelet count >150,000/mm3. We aimed to: assess the performance of spleen stiffness measurement (SSM) in ruling out patients with high-risk varices (HRV); validate Baveno VI criteria in a large population and assess how the sequential use of Baveno VI criteria and SSM could safely avoid the need for endoscopy.
We retrospectively analyzed 498 patients with cACLD who had undergone LSM/SSM by transient elastography (TE) (FibroScan®), platelet count and EGDs from 2012 to 2016 referred to our tertiary centre. The new combined model was validated internally by a split-validation method, and externally in a prospective multicentre cohort of 115 patients.
SSM, LSM, platelet count and Child-Pugh-B were independent predictors of HRV. Applying the newly identified SSM cut-off (≤46 kPa) or Baveno VI criteria, 35.8% and 21.7% of patients in the internal validation cohort could have avoided EGD, with only 2% of HRVs being missed with either model. The combination of SSM with Baveno VI criteria would have avoided an additional 22.5% of EGDs, reaching a final value of 43.8% spared EGDs, with <5% missed HRVs. Results were confirmed in the prospective external validation cohort, as the combined Baveno VI/SSM ≤46 model would have safely spared (0 HRV missed) 37.4% of EGDs, compared to 16.5% when using the Baveno VI criteria alone.
A non-invasive prediction model combining SSM with Baveno VI criteria may be useful to rule out HRV and could make it possible to avoid a significantly larger number of unnecessary EGDs compared to Baveno VI criteria only.
Spleen stiffness measurement assessed by transient elastography, the most widely used elastography technique, is a non-invasive technique that can help the physician to better stratify the degree of portal hypertension and the risk of esophageal varices in patients with compensated advanced chronic liver disease. Performing spleen stiffness measurement together with liver stiffness measurement during the same examination is simple and fast and this sequential model can identify a greater number of patients that can safely avoid endoscopy, which is an invasive and expensive examination.