Effect of meal ingestion on liver stiffness in patients with cirrhosis and portal hypertension

2013 PLoS ONE 8;3 (e58742)

BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Liver stiffness is increasingly used in the non-invasive evaluation of chronic liver diseases. Liver stiffness correlates with hepatic venous pressure gradient (HVPG) in patients with cirrhosis and holds prognostic value in this population. Hence, accuracy in its measurement is needed. Several factors independent of fibrosis influence liver stiffness, but there is insufficient information on whether meal ingestion modifies liver stiffness in cirrhosis. We investigated the changes in liver stiffness occurring after the ingestion of a liquid standard test meal in this population. METHODS: In 19 patients with cirrhosis and esophageal varices (9 alcoholic, 9 HCV-related, 1 NASH; Child score 6.9+/-1.8), liver stiffness (transient elastography), portal blood flow (PBF) and hepatic artery blood flow (HABF) (Doppler-Ultrasound) were measured before and 30 minutes after receiving a standard mixed liquid meal. In 10 the HVPG changes were also measured. RESULTS: Post-prandial hyperemia was accompanied by a marked increase in liver stiffness (+27+/-33%; p