Article

Digestive Diseases and Sciences

, Volume 50, Issue 6, pp 1170-1174

First online:

Portal Venous Flow Pattern as a Useful Tool for Predicting Esophageal Varix Bleeding in Cirrhotic Patients

  • Kang-Cheng ChiuAffiliated withDepartment of Internal Medicine, National Cheng Kung University
  • , Bor-Shyang SheuAffiliated withDepartment of Internal Medicine, National Cheng Kung UniversityDepartment of Internal Medicine, National Cheng Kung University Hospital Email author 
  • , Chiao-Hsiung ChuangAffiliated withDepartment of Internal Medicine, National Cheng Kung University

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Abstract

This study aimed to evaluate whether (1) the portal venous flow pattern determined by color Doppler sonography could be related to the clinical severity of liver cirrhosis and (2) whether the flow patterns differ between patients with bleeding and nonbleeding esophageal varices. One hundred twenty-nine cirrhotic patients and 60 noncirrhotic healthy controls were enrolled after endoscopic survey for the presence of esophageal varices. Each patient received color Doppler echography to define the pattern of blood flow direction as hepatopetal or nonhepatopetal (hepatofugal, turbulence, and bidirection) in type. The patients with esophageal varices were further categorized into two groups: with recent bleeding (BEV; n = 99) and without recent bleeding (NBEV; n = 30). More patients in the BEV group (72.7%) had a nonhepatopetal Doppler flow pattern than in the control group (1.7%) and NBEV group (13.3%) (P < 0.001). Among the 129 cirrhotic patients, the nonhepatopetal flow pattern of the portal vein was higher in 96% of Child–Pugh grade C patients than in 41.8% of grade A patients and 57.6% of grade B patients (P < 0.05). Moreover, for those cirrhotic patients with Child–Pugh grades A and B, the nonhepatopetal Doppler flow pattern was more commonly found in the BEV group than in the NBEV group (63.0 vs. 13.8%; odds ratio, 10.64; 95% CI, 0.03–0.299; P < 0.001). Portal venous blood flow pattern is related to severity of cirrhosis. The presence of a nonhepatopetal flow pattern implicates an increased risk of esophageal varices bleeding, especially for those cirrhotic patients with Child–Pugh grades A and B.

Key Words

portal venous flow pattern cirrhosis hepatopetal hepatofugal esophageal variceal bleeding