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J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2009 Aug 1;51(4):445-9. doi: 10.1097/QAI.0b013e3181acb675.

Liver stiffness as a predictor of esophageal varices requiring therapy in HIV/hepatitis C virus-coinfected patients with cirrhosis.

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  • 1Unit of Infectious Diseases, Hospital Universitario de Valme, Seville, Spain. japineda@telefonica.net



Liver stiffness (LS) measured by transient elastometry is associated with portal pressure in hepatitis C virus (HCV)-monoinfected patients and could predict the presence of esophageal varices in these subjects. The aim of this study was to assess the ability of LS to predict esophageal varices requiring preventive therapy for bleeding in HIV/HCV-coinfected patients.


One hundred two HIV/HCV-coinfected patients with liver cirrhosis (LS >or= 14 kPa) underwent an upper gastrointestinal endoscopy (UGE) examination. The diagnostic performance of LS for esophageal varices requiring therapy (>or=F2 or F1 with red signs or Child-Pugh-Turcotte class C) was assessed by receiver operating receptor characteristic curves.


Nineteen patients (19%) harbored varices requiring therapy. LS in patients with and without varices needing treatment was 48 (33-71) kPa and 32 (18-48) kPa (P = 0.004). The area under the receptor operating characteristic curve (95% confidence interval) of LS for the occurrence of varices that should be treated was 0.71 (0.60 to 0.82). There was no cutoff level of LS with good positive predictive value for the presence of varices requiring therapy, but LS of 21 kPa had a negative predictive value of 100%. Twenty-six percent of patients with LS measurement and UGE showed LS <21 KPa.


LS is higher in HIV/HCV-coinfected patients with cirrhosis who show esophageal varices requiring therapy than in those who do not. A cutoff value of LS of 21 kPa could be useful to identify patients with very low probability of varices at risk for bleeding. UGE for screening could be spared in these patients until LS increases above 21 kPa.

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