Diagnosing and monitoring cirrhosis: Liver biopsy, hepatic venous pressure gradient and elastography

2012 Gastroenterologia y hepatologia 35;7 (488-495)

In this review we summarize the role of liver biopsy, transient elastography and hepatic venous pressure gradient (HVPG) in the diagnosis and monitoring of patients with liver cirrhosis. Transient elastography is useful for the non-invasive diagnosis of cirrhosis, but relevant information is lost if it is used as a dichotomous test. The development of clinically significant portal hypertension (defined as a hepatic venous pressure gradient >/= 10 mmHg) is associated with the development of varices and decompensation and it is something that it is worth testing for. Transient elastography has some value for the prediction of clinically significant portal hypertension, but a large proportion of patients have non-diagnostic values. It has also some value for the diagnosis of varices, but non-invasive markers cannot substitute endoscopic screening in cirrhosis. Better dynamic, easily repeatable non-invasive tools are needed to monitor compensated cirrhosis.

Pubmed : 22560536