[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background and aims:
Critical illness-related corticosteroid insufficiency has been reported in acute variceal bleeding (AVB). In cirrhosis, free serum cortisol (FC) is considered optimal to assess adrenal function. Salivary cortisol (SC) is considered a surrogate for FC. We evaluated FC and its prognostic role in AVB.
Total serum cortisol, SC, cortisol-binding globulin, and FC (Coolens' formula) were evaluated in AVB (n=38) and in stable cirrhosis (CC) (n=31). A Cox proportional hazards model was evaluated for 6-week survival.
In AVB, the median FC and SC levels were higher with worse liver dysfunction [Child-Pugh (CP) A/B/C: 1.59/2.62/3.26 μg/dl, P=0.019; CPA/B/C: 0.48/0.897/1.81 μg/ml, P<0.001, respectively]. In AVB compared with CC, median total serum cortisol: 24.3 versus 11.6 μg/dl (P<0.001), SC: 0.86 versus 0.407 μg/ml (P<0.001); FC 2.4 versus 0.57 μg/dl (P<0.001). In AVB, 5-day rebleeding was 10.5%, and 6-week and total mortality were 21.1 and 23.7%, respectively. Independent associations with 6-week mortality in AVB were FC at least 3.2 μg/dl (P<0.001), hepatocellular carcinoma (P<0.001), CPC (P<0.001), and early rebleeding (P<0.001). Among patients with normal cortisol-binding globulin (n=14) and albumin (n=31), the factors were hepatocellular carcinoma (P=0.003), CP (P=0.003), and FC (P=0.036). SC was also found to be an independent predictor of 6-week mortality (P<0.001). Area under the curve of FC for predicting 6-week mortality was 0.79.
Higher FC is present in cirrhosis with AVB compared with CC and is associated independently with bleeding-related mortality. However, whether high FC solely indicates the severity of illness or whether there is significant adrenal insufficiency cannot be discerned.
European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology 08/2014; 26(10). DOI:10.1097/MEG.0000000000000158 · 2.25 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Aim:
To study these characteristics and prognostic patterns in a Greek patient population.
We analyzed a large cohort of cirrhotic patients referred to the department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology and the outpatient clinics of this tertiary hospital, between 1991 and 2008. We included patients with established cirrhosis, either compensated or decompensated, and further decompensation episodes were registered. A data base was maintained and updated prospectively throughout the study period. We analyzed differences in cirrhosis aetiology, time to and mode of decompensation, hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) occurrence and ultimately patient survival.
Five hundreds and twenty-two patients with median age 67 (range, 29-91) years and average follow up 9 years-10 mo (range, 1-206 mo) were studied. Commonest aetiology was hepatitis C virus (HCV, 41%) followed by alcohol (31%). The median survival time in compensated cirrhotics was 115 mo (95%CI: 95-133), whereas in decompensated patients was 55 mo (95%CI: 36-75). HCV patients survived longer while HBV patients had over twice the risk of death of HCV patients. The median time to decompensation was 65 mo (95%CI: 51-79), with alcoholics having the highest risk (RR = 2.1 vs HCV patients). Hepatitis B virus (HBV) patients had the highest risk of HCC, alcoholics the lowest. Leading causes of death: liver failure, hepatorenal syndrome, sepsis and HCC progression.
Cirrhosis aetiology and decompensation at presentation were predictors of survival. Alcoholics had the highest decompensation risk, HBV cirrhotics the highest risk of HCC and HCV cirrhotics the highest decompensation-free time.
World Journal of Hepatology 07/2014; 6(7):504-12. DOI:10.4254/wjh.v6.i7.504
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Early results of a randomised trial showed reduced fibrosis due to recurrent HCV hepatitis with tacrolimus triple therapy (TT) versus monotherapy (MT) following transplantation for HCV cirrhosis. We evaluated the clinical outcomes after a median 8 years of follow-up, including differences in fibrosis assessed by collagen proportionate area (CPA).
103 consecutive liver transplant recipients with HCV cirrhosis receiving cadaveric grafts were randomised to tacrolimus MT (n=54) or TT (n=49) with daily tacrolimus (0.1 mg/kg divided dose), azathioprine (1 mg/kg) and prednisolone (20 mg), the last tailing off to zero by 6 months. Both groups had serial transjugular biopsies with hepatic venous pressure gradient (HVPG) measurement. Time to reach Ishak stage 4 was the predetermined endpoint. CPA was measured in all biopsies. Factors associated with HCV recurrence were evaluated. Clinical decompensation was the first occurrence of ascites/hydrothorax, variceal bleeding or encephalopathy.
No significant preoperative, peri-operative or postoperative differences between groups were found. During 96 months median follow-up, stage 4 fibrosis was reached in 19 MT/11 TT with slower fibrosis progression in TT (p=0.009). CPA at last biopsy was 12% in MT and 8% in TT patients (p=0.004). 14 MT/ three TT patients reached HVPG≥10 mm Hg (p=0.002); 10 MT/three TT patients, decompensated. Multivariately, allocated MT (p=0.047, OR 3.23, 95% CI 1.01 to 10.3) was independently associated with decompensation: 14 MT/ seven TT died, and five MT/ four TT were retransplanted.
Long term immunosuppression with tacrolimus, azathioprine and short term prednisolone in HCV cirrhosis recipients resulted in slower progression to severe fibrosis assessed by Ishak stage and CPA, less portal hypertension and decompensation, compared with tacrolimus alone. ISRCTN94834276: Randomised study for immunosuppression regimen in liver transplantation.
Gut 10/2013; 63(6). DOI:10.1136/gutjnl-2013-305606 · 14.66 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Klippel-Trénaunay syndrome is a rare congenital syndrome characterized by capillary malformations, soft tissue and bone hypertrophy, and varicose veins. There is a well-established risk for thrombotic complications in these patients. A case of a young patient diagnosed post partum with the very rare liver involvement is presented. The complex clinical course, the multidisciplinary management and the long-term outcome are discussed.
Annals of Gastroenterology 04/2012; 25(4):365-367.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: HCV related liver disease is the most common indication for liver transplantation. Recurrence of HCV infection is universal and has a substantial impact on patient and graft survival. Immunosuppression is a major factor responsible for the accelerated recurrence and compressed natural history of recurrent HCV infection. Accumulating experience has provided data to support certain strategies for immunosuppressive regimens. From the available evidence, more severe recurrence results from repeated bolus corticosteroid therapy and anti-lymphocyte antibodies used to treat rejection. Low dose and slow tapering of steroids are better than high dose maintenance and/or rapid tapering. Recent meta-analyses favour steroid-free regimens but these are complicated to interpret as the absence of steroids may simply represent less immunopotency. There is no difference in HCV recurrence between tacrolimus and cyclosporine regimens, but tacrolimus increases graft and patient survival in HCV transplanted patients. There may be a beneficial effect of maintenance azathioprine given for 6 months or longer. There is no conclusive evidence for benefit of mycophenolate and interleukin-2 receptor blockers. Few data are available for mTOR inhibitors. Better evidence is needed to establish the optimal immunosuppressive regimen for HCV recipients and more randomized trials should be performed.
Journal of Hepatology 09/2011; 56(4):973-83. DOI:10.1016/j.jhep.2011.06.031 · 11.34 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A 35-year-old lady was admitted to our Department due to fever and symptoms from the respiratory and gastrointestinal system. She was recently diagnosed with eosinophilic gastroenteritis and had been on steroids until two months prior to admission. Legionella pneumophila pneumonia was diagnosed and targeted therapy was initiated. The combined approach to the two entities is discussed as well as the options for maintenance therapy.
Annals of Gastroenterology 07/2011; 24(4):325-327.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In patients with cirrhosis and bacterial infection there is impaired coagulation and a heparin effect on thromboelastography (TEG). Our aim was to assess the presence of a heparin effect on heparinase I-modified TEG in patients before and after transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS). Our hypothesis was that, given the presence of a portosystemic gradient of endotoxaemia, and the role of endotoxaemia on the release of heparinoids, the inflow of portal blood after TIPS might reveal heparinoids through a heparin effect on TEG.
Blood samples for heparinase I-modified TEG were taken before, 1 h after, 6 h after and the morning after TIPS, with further daily samples being taken until any TEG changes had reverted to baseline. A heparin effect was defined as an improvement of > or =20% in a TEG variable after addition of heparinase I.
We studied 10 patients (six males, mean age 48.8 years, mean Child score 8.8). The aetiology of liver disease was alcohol in six patients, Budd-Chiari syndrome in two, and hepatitis C virus and cryptogenic cirrhosis in one each. Indications for TIPS were recurrent variceal bleeding in four patients, refractory ascites or hydrothorax in four and Budd-Chiari syndrome in two. There was a statistically significant worsening in TEG parameters after TIPS placement. In eight patients a heparin effect appeared after TIPS and disappeared within 24-48 h.
We report the appearance of a transient heparin effect in systemic venous blood after TIPS in patients with cirrhosis or Budd-Chiari syndrome, suggesting the presence of heparinoid substances in the portal venous system in these patients.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Less potent immunosuppression is considered to reduce the severity of hepatitis C virus (HCV) recurrence after liver transplantation. An optimal regimen is unknown. We evaluated tacrolimus monotherapy versus triple therapy in a randomized trial of 103 first transplants for HCV cirrhosis. One hundred three patients who underwent transplantation for HCV were randomized to tacrolimus monotherapy (n = 54) or triple therapy with tacrolimus, azathioprine, and steroids (n = 49), which were tapered to zero by 3 to 6 months. Both groups had serial transjugular biopsies with hepatic venous pressure gradient (HVPG) measurement. The time to reach Ishak stage 4 was the predetermined endpoint. All factors documented in the literature as being associated with HCV recurrence and the allocated treatment were evaluated for reaching stage 4 and HVPG >or= 10 mm Hg. No significant preoperative, perioperative, or postoperative differences, including the frequency of biopsies between groups, were found. During a mean follow-up of 53.5 months, 9 monotherapy patients and 6 triple therapy patients died, and 5 monotherapy patients and 4 triple therapy patients underwent retransplantation. Stage 4 fibrosis was reached in 17 monotherapy patients and 10 triple therapy patients (P = 0.04), with slower fibrosis progression in the triple therapy patients (P = 0.048). Allocated therapy and histological acute hepatitis were independently associated with stage 4 fibrosis. HVPG increased to >or=10 mm Hg more rapidly in monotherapy patients versus triple therapy patients (P = 0.038). In conclusion, long-term maintenance immunosuppression with azathioprine and shorter term prednisolone with tacrolimus in HCV cirrhosis recipients resulted in a slower onset of histologically proven severe fibrosis and portal hypertension in comparison with tacrolimus alone, and this was independent of known factors affecting fibrosis.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Renal failure is common in cirrhosis frequently due to hepatorenal syndrome (HRS). Terlipressin and albumin improve renal function with a trend to prolong survival in HRS, but prognostic factors with therapy have been poorly studied.
Forty-five cirrhotics seen consecutively in a single centre with renal failure defined as oliguria/anuria and/or rising creatinine and no response to volume loading, without intrinsic renal disease, sepsis, gastrointestinal bleeding [median Child-Pugh score 12(8-14)/Model for End-Stage Liver Disease 29(10-40)], had intravenous terlipressin and albumin and were audited retrospectively classified into three groups: group 1 HRS type 1 (15), group 2 HRS type 2 (11) and group 3(19): not fulfilling HRS 1 or 2 criteria. Baseline median creatinine was 1.7 (0.9-5.46) mg/dl and 30 (67%) had creatinine greater than 1.5 mg/dl. All 45 patients had initial colloid/albumin and 31 continued terlipressin (2-4 mg/day) for a median 8 (2-76) days.
Improvement in serum creatinine occurred in 23 (51%) [(1.3 mg/dl (0.6-3.9)] compared with baseline [1.7 mg/dl (0.92-3.75)] (P<0.001). In the multivariate analysis a greater reduction in creatinine between baseline and day 4 (95% confidence interval, odds ratio: 0.25) was associated with improved survival at 6 weeks.
Albumin and terlipressin improve renal failure in the absence of sepsis in cirrhosis independently of whether HRS criteria are fulfilled or not. Improvement at 4 days of therapy is associated with better survival. Randomized studies are needed for oliguria and rising creatinine in cirrhotics even if HRS criteria are not fulfilled.
European journal of gastroenterology & hepatology 11/2009; 22(4):481-6. DOI:10.1097/MEG.0b013e3283345524 · 2.25 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS) has been reported superior to large-volume paracentesis for refractory ascites, but post-TIPS encephalopathy is a major complication. We intended to assess the outcome of limited diameter TIPS on ascites control, mortality, and encephalopathy in patients with refractory ascites at our centre.
TIPS was successfully performed on 56 patients. Initial stent dilatation was to 6 mm, if there was a reduction in portal pressure gradient (PPG) >25%, further dilatation was not proposed.
Either complete or partial response was obtained in 58%, 81%, 83%, and 93% of patients at 1, 3, 6, and 12 months, respectively. Mortality was 10%, 29%, 37%, and 50% at 1, 3, 6, and 12 months, respectively. In 27 patients (48%), a new episode of encephalopathy developed, but only 6 (22%) were grade III or IV and 23 (85%) responded quickly to treatment.
The results of our study confirm the efficacy of TIPS for refractory ascites. The use of narrow-diameter dilatation without aiming at lowering the PPG below a certain threshold might simplify the procedure and the follow-up for these patients.
Journal of Gastroenterology 08/2009; 44(10):1089-95. DOI:10.1007/s00535-009-0099-6 · 4.52 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) allograft cirrhosis may progress rapidly requiring re-transplantation but its course is little studied. We evaluated serially biopsied patients who developed HCV-related allograft cirrhosis. We assessed outcome of graft cirrhosis in 55 out of 234 consecutive patients and predictors of decompensation and mortality, including hepatic venous pressure gradient (HVPG) in 38. Allograft cirrhosis (Ishak stage 6, 60%; stage 5, 40%) was diagnosed between 12 and 172 months (median, 52) from transplantation; subsequent follow up was 22 (1-78) months. Faster development (<or=48 months) was associated with tacrolimus and nonuse of azathioprine and prednisolone. Decompensation occurred in 22% with a probability of not developing decompensation reaching 60% at 5 years. Survival among compensated patients was 77% at 5 years, but fell rapidly after decompensation (12% at 1 year). Decompensation and mortality were independently associated with HVPG >or= 10 mmHg, Child-Pugh score >or= 7, and albumin levels <or= 32 g/dl but not with fibrosis stage 5 or 6, HCV genotype (1b, 34%) or immunosuppression used after diagnosis of cirrhosis. In conclusion, Ishak stage 5 and 6 HCV-related cirrhosis have similar prognosis after liver transplantation. An HVPG >or= 10 mmHg, in addition to liver dysfunction, gives independent prognostic information prior to decompensation, allowing early relisting before prognosis becomes extremely poor.
Transplant International 10/2008; 22(2):172-81. DOI:10.1111/j.1432-2277.2008.00744.x · 2.60 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Thromboelastography can be performed with native or citrated blood (a surrogate to native blood in healthy controls, surgical and cirrhotic patients). Activators such as kaolin are increasingly used to reduce the time to trace generation. To compare kaolin-activated thromboelastography with nonkaolin-activated thromboelastography of native and citrated blood in patients with liver disease, patients undergoing treatment with warfarin or low-molecular weight heparin and healthy volunteers. We studied thromboelastography parameters in 21 healthy volunteers (group 1) and 50 patients, including 20 patients with liver cirrhosis with a nonbiliary aetiology (group 2), 10 patients with primary biliary cirrhosis or primary sclerosing cholangitis (group 3), 10 patients on warfarin treatment (group 4) and 10 patients with enoxaparin prophylaxis (group 5). Thromboelastography was performed using four methods: native blood (kaolin-activated and nonkaolin-activated) and citrated blood (kaolin-activated and nonkaolin-activated). For all thromboelastography parameters, correlation was poor (Spearman correlation coefficient < 0.70) between nonkaolin-activated and kaolin-activated thromboelastography, for both citrated and native blood. In healthy volunteers, in patients with liver disease and in those receiving anticoagulant treatment, there was a poor correlation between nonkaolin-activated and kaolin-activated thromboelastography. Kaolin-activated thromboelastography needs further validation before routine clinical use in these settings, and the specific methodology must be considered in comparing published studies.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Somatostatin (SST) acts as an inhibitory peptide of various secretory and proliferative processes. Apart from neuroendocrine tumors, where SST analogues have an established role, they have been tested in other tumors such as hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in the view of the fact that chemotherapy is not working. Several positive reports have been published. Approximately 40% of patients respond with improved survival and an impressive quality of life. A usual misunderstanding in trial designs is that, although SST is not a rescue drug, selection of patients is inappropriate, with mostly moribund patients being recruited. SST analogues do not seem to work in 60% of HCCs and this has been linked to the presence of SST receptors (SSTR) in the tumor, while several resistance mechanisms might be involved. Future management should engage more specific SST analogues targeted to a tumor with a known SSTR map. The use of somatostatin analogues as an adjunct therapy in combination with other treatment modalities should also be investigated.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Progression of fibrosis following recurrent hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is frequent after liver transplantation (LT). Histology remains the gold standard to assess fibrosis, but the value of hepatic venous pressure gradient (HVPG) is being explored. We evaluated patients with recurrent HCV infection after LT to assess whether HVPG correlates with liver histology, particularly fibrosis. A total of 90 consecutive patients underwent 170 HVPG measurements concomitant with transjugular liver biopsy (TJB), with 31.5 (range, 6-156) months of follow up. Median biopsy length was 22 mm and total portal tract count was 12 (complete 6, partial 6). Median HVPG was 4 mmHg: 38% of patients > or =6 mmHg (portal hypertension, PHT), 13% > or =10 mmHg. HVPG correlated with Ishak stage (r = 0.73, P < 0.001) for mild (0-3) and severe fibrosis (4-6), and grade score (r = 0.47, P < 0.001), but neither correlated with interval from LT nor biopsy length. HVPG was > or =10 mmHg in 15 patients: 12 had stage 5 or 6, and 3 severe portal expansion. HVPG was repeated in 49, between 7 and 60 months with weak correlation to fibrosis score (r = 0.30, P = 0.045). A total of 12 patients with HVPG > or =6 mmHg had fibrosis score < or =3, while 8 patients had normal HVPG but fibrosis stage > or =4. These discrepancies were mostly associated with specific histological features such as perisinusoidal fibrosis rather than errors in measuring HVPG. In 29 with HVPG <6 mmHg at 1 yr, none decompensated compared to 4 of 13 (31%) with PHT. In conclusion, HVPG correlates with fibrosis and its progression, due to recurrent HCV infection, assessed in TJB.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We sought to investigate the impact of different immunosuppressive regimens on human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) incidence and replication dynamics in a cohort of 256 patients after liver transplantation.
A time-updated approach was used to determine the risk of developing HCMV replication (>200 genomes/mL blood) within the first 100 days after liver transplantation according to the immunosuppressive regimen being received at specific time points.
In patients receiving tacrolimus, the addition of prednisolone was associated with a significant increased risk of HCMV replication both at baseline (relative rate of infection [RRI]=4.34; P=0.0001) and in a time-updated analysis (RRI=4.68; P=0.0001). However, the addition of azathioprine substantially reduced the risk of HCMV replication to that observed with tacrolimus alone. As expected donor/recipient HCMV serostatus was also a risk factor for viraemia. Multivariable models showed that the tacrolimus plus prednisolone regimen and donor/recipient serostatus were independent risk factors for HCMV replication. Viral replication dynamics showed that the duration of HCMV viraemia, the peak viral load, and the growth rate of HCMV were greatest in patients receiving tacrolimus plus prednisolone although these differences did not reach statistical significance.
The combination of prednisolone plus tacrolimus as baseline immunosuppression after liver transplantation is associated with a high risk of HCMV replication. This effect can be negated by the addition of azathioprine.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In recent years, a worsening outcome of hepatitis C virus (HCV)-positive recipients and a faster progression of recurrent disease to overt cirrhosis has been reported. Our aims were to 1) assess patient survival and development of severe recurrent disease (Ishak fibrosis score > 3) in different transplant years; and 2) model the effects of pre- and post-liver transplantation (LT) variables on the severity of recurrent disease. A multicenter retrospective analysis was conducted on 502 consecutive HCV-positive transplant recipients between January 1990 and December 2002. Protocol liver biopsies were obtained at 1, 3, 5, 7, and 10 yr post-LT in almost 90% of the patients. All 502 patients were included in the overall survival analysis, while only the 354 patients with a follow-up longer than 1 yr were considered for the analysis of predictors of disease progression. The overall Kaplan-Meier survival rates were 78.7%, 66.3%, and 58.6%, at 12, 60, and 120 months, respectively, and a trend for a better patient survival over the years emerged from all 3 centers. The cumulative probability of developing HCV-related recurrent severe fibrosis (Ishak score 4-6) in the cohort of 354 patients who survived at least 1 yr remained unchanged over the years. Multivariate analysis indicated that older donors (P = 0.0001) and female gender of recipient (P = 0.02) were the 2 major risk factors for the development of severe recurrent disease, while the adoption of antilymphocytic preparations was associated with a less aggressive course (P = 0.03). Two of these prognostic factors, donor age and recipient gender, are easily available before LT and their combination showed an important synergy, such that a female recipient not only had a much higher probability of severe recurrent disease than a male recipient but her risk increased with the increasing age of the donor, reaching almost 100% when the age of the donor was 60 or older. In conclusion, a trend for a better patient survival was observed in more recent years but the cumulative probability of developing severe recurrent disease remained unchanged. The combination of a female recipient receiving an older graft emerged as a strong risk factor for a severe recurrence.