BACKGROUND/AIMS: The relationships between the hepatic venous pressure gradient (HVPG) and the status of cirrhosis, complications of portal hypertension and the severity of cirrhosis are not clear. The aim of this study was to determine the relationships between HVPG and the complications or status of cirrhosis. METHODS: The HVPG, gastroesophageal varices, Child-Pugh score, Model for End-Stage Liver Disease (MELD) score, presence of ascites, recent bleeding history and the status of cirrhosis were assessed in a cohort of 172 patients (156 males, 16 females) with liver cirrhosis. RESULTS: The HVPG was 15.6+/-5.1 (mean+/-SD) mmHg (4-33 mmHg) and was significantly higher in patients in the decompensated stage than in those in the compensated stage (16.6+/-4.3 vs. 10.8+/-6.1 mmHg, respectively; P<0.01). HVPG was higher in bleeders than in nonbleeders (16.9+/-4.5 vs. 12.8+/-5.3 mmHg, respectively; P<0.01), and in patients with ascites than in those without ascites (16.4+/-4.1 vs. 14.5+/-6.2 mmHg, respectively; P<0.05). HVPG was significantly lower in the presence of gastric varices than in their absence (14.0+/-3.4 vs. 16.0+/-5.3 mmHg, respectively; P<0.05); however, no significant correlation was detected between HVPG and the grade of esophageal varices (P>0.05). HVPG was significantly higher in Child's B cirrhosis (n=87, 15.6+/-4.7 mmHg) and Child's C cirrhosis (n=36, 18.4+/-4.7 mmHg) than in Child's A cirrhosis (n=49, 13.7+/-5.1 mmHg; P<0.01). HVPG also was strongly correlated with the MELD score (P<0.01). The time required to measure the HVPG was 11.2+/-6.4 min, and only three cases of minor complication occurred during the procedure. CONCLUSIONS: HVPG was correlated with the severity of liver cirrhosis, presence of ascites, and risk of variceal bleeding in patients with liver cirrhosis.
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