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Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2008 Oct 15;28(8):943-52. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2036.2008.03798.x.

Review article: the therapeutic and prognostic benefit of portal pressure reduction in cirrhosis.

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Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Internal Medicine, University Hospital, Patras, Greece.



Hepatic venous pressure gradient (HVPG) measurement is not a routinely used technique, despite its therapeutic and prognostic value.


To review the role of HVPG from published literature.


Systematic literature review.


In acute variceal bleeding, HVPG is prognostic identifying 'difficult to treat' group, which now has defined clinical correlations. In secondary prevention of portal hypertensive bleeding, a reduction to < or = 12 mmHg confers near complete protection against rebleeding. The target of > or = 20% HVPG reduction from baseline needs prospective assessment to test a change of therapy, if no reduction occurs. The acute HVPG response to beta-blockade needs further assessment. In primary prevention, the cost-effectiveness of HVPG measurement is not favourable given the efficacy of medical therapy. In chronic liver disease, wedge hepatic venous pressure (WHVP) is prognostic for survival. Pharmacological reduction in portal pressure decreases complications and improves survival, possibly independent of a concomitant improvement in liver function. This latter requires urgent confirmation as it is clinically very relevant. HVPG monitoring can be used to assess anti-viral therapy particularly in cirrhosis, ergonomically combined with transjugular biopsy.


The prognostic and therapeutic value of HVPG is established beyond portal hypertensive bleeding for which there are some clinical surrogates. HVPG measurement should now be part of everyday clinical practice.

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