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Ther Drug Monit. 1990 May;12(3):219-26.

Lidocaine metabolite formation as a measure of liver function in patients with cirrhosis.

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  • 1Center of Laboratory Medicine, Medizinische Hochschule, Hannover, F.R.G.


A method for rapid assessment of hepatic function in cirrhotics based on the formation of the lidocaine metabolite, monoethylglycinexylidide (MEGX), was evaluated. The formation kinetics and urinary excretion patterns of MEGX clearly distinguished cirrhotics (n = 12) from healthy volunteers (n = 16). In a prospective study, we compared the prognostic value of the MEGX test with that of traditional parameters in transplant candidates. Patients who underwent transplantation during follow-up were excluded. The study included 58 adult patients with biopsy-proven posthepatitic or biliary cirrhosis. During the follow-up period of 120 days, 10 of 58 patients died of their liver disease. At the time of inclusion, we recorded MEGX formation, indocyanine green (ICG) half-life, caffeine clearance, and the Child-Pugh score. These variables were subjected as covariates to a survival analysis (Cox proportional hazards regression model). The results of the MEGX and the ICG test were significantly related to the 120-day survival. In the stepwise analysis, none of the parameters evaluated contributed to a further significant improvement of our predictive ability when added to the values of ICG (improvement: p less than 0.0005) and MEGX (improvement: p less than 0.0005). These findings suggest that the ICG and MEGX tests were the best short-term prognostic indicators. The easy handling favors the MEGX test over the ICG test as a tool for assessment of hepatic function and short-term prognosis in transplant candidates with cirrhosis.

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