Liver stiffness measurement by transient elastography predicts late posthepatectomy outcomes in patients undergoing resection for hepatocellular carcinoma

2017 Surgery 162;4 (766-774)

BACKGROUND: Postoperative hepatic decompensation is a serious complication of liver resection in patients undergoing hepatectomy for hepatocellular carcinoma. Liver fibrosis and clinical significant portal hypertension are well-known risk factors for hepatic decompensation. Liver stiffness measurement is a noninvasive method of evaluating hepatic venous pressure gradient and functional hepatic reserve by estimating hepatic fibrosis. Effectiveness of liver stiffness measurement in predicting persistent postoperative hepatic decompensation has not been investigated. METHODS: Consecutive patients with resectable hepatocellular carcinoma were recruited prospectively and liver stiffness measurement of nontumoral liver was measured using FibroScan. Hepatic venous pressure gradient was measured intraoperatively by direct puncture of portal vein and inferior vena cava. Hepatic venous pressure gradient >/=10 mm Hg was defined as clinically significant portal hypertension. Primary outcome was persistent hepatic decompensation defined as the presence of at least one of the following: unresolved ascites, jaundice, and/or encephalopathy >3 months after hepatectomy. RESULTS: One hundred and six hepatectomies, including 22 right hepatectomy (20.8%), 3 central hepatectomy (2.8%), 12 left hepatectomy (11.3%), 11 bisegmentectomy (10.4%), 30 unisegmentectomy (28.3%), and 28 partial hepatectomy (26.4%) were performed in patients for hepatocellular carcinoma (84 men and 22 women with median age of 67.5 years; median model for end-stage liver disease score of 8). Ninety-day mortality was 4.7%. Nine patients (8.5%) developed postoperative hepatic decompensation. Multivariate logistic regression bootstrapped at 1,000 identified liver stiffness measurement (P = .001) as the only preoperative predictor of postoperative hepatic decompensation. Area under receiver operating characteristic curve for liver stiffness measurement and hepatic venous pressure gradient was 0.81 (95% confidence interval, 0.506-0.907) and 0.71 (95% confidence interval, 0.646-0.917), respectively. Liver stiffness measurement >/=22 kPa had 42.9% sensitivity and 92.6% specificity and hepatic venous pressure gradient >/=10 mm Hg had 28.6% sensitivity and 96.3% specificity. CONCLUSION: In selected patients undergoing liver resection for hepatocellular carcinoma, transient elastography is an easy and effective test to predict persistent hepatic decompensation preoperatively.