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Oesophageal varices predict complications in compensated advanced non-alcoholic fatty liver disease

  • Authors: Pennisi, Grazia; Enea, Marco; Viganò, Mauro; Schepis, Filippo; de Ledinghen, Victor; Berzigotti, Annalisa; Wai-Sun Wong, Vincent; Fracanzani, Anna Ludovica; Sebastiani, Giada; Lara-Romero, Carmen; Bugianesi, Elisabetta; Svegliati-Baroni, Gianluca; Marra, Fabio; Aghemo, Alessio; Valenti, Luca; Calvaruso, Vincenza; Colecchia, Antonio; Di Maria, Gabriele; La Mantia, Claudia; Lin, Huapeng; Mendoza, Yuly P; Pugliese, Nicola; Ravaioli, Federico; Romero-Gomez, Manuel; Saltini, Dario; Craxì, Antonio; Di Marco, Vito; Camma, Calogero; Petta, Salvatore
  • Publication year: 2023
  • Type: Articolo in rivista
  • OA Link:


Background & Aims: We aimed to evaluate the impact of oesophageal varices (OV) and their evolution on the risk of complications of compensated advanced chronic liver disease (cACLD) caused by non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). We also assessed the accuracy of non-invasive scores for predicting the development of complications and for identifying patients at low risk of high-risk OV. Methods: We performed a retrospective assessment of 629 patients with NAFLD-related cACLD who had baseline and follow-up oesophagogastroduodenoscopy and clinical follow-up to record decompensation, portal vein thrombosis (PVT), and he-patocellular carcinoma. Results: Small and large OV were observed at baseline in 30 and 15.9% of patients, respectively. The 4-year incidence of OV from absence at baseline, and that of progression from small to large OV were 16.3 and 22.4%, respectively. Diabetes and a >-5% increase in BMI were associated with OV progression. Multivariate Cox regression revealed that small (hazard ratio [HR] 2.24, 95% CI 1.47-3.41) and large (HR 3.86, 95% CI 2.34-6.39) OV were independently associated with decompensation. When considering OV status and trajectories, small (HR 2.65, 95% CI 1.39-5.05) and large (HR 4.90, 95% CI 2.49-9.63) OV at baseline and/or follow-up were independently associated with decompensation compared with the absence of OV at baseline and/or follow-up. The presence of either small (HR 2.8, 95% CI 1.16-6.74) or large (HR 5.29, 95% CI 1.96-14.2) OV was also inde-pendently associated with incident PVT. Conclusion: In NAFLD-related cACLD, the presence, severity, and evolution of OV stratify the risk of developing decom-pensation and PVT. Impact and implications: Portal hypertension is the main driver of liver decompensation in chronic liver diseases, and its non-invasive markers can help risk prediction. The presence, severity, and progression of oesophageal varices stratify the risk of complications of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Easily obtainable laboratory values and liver stiffness measurement can identify patients at low risk for whom endoscopy may be withheld, and can also stratify the risk of liver-related complications. & COPY; 2023 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. on behalf of European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL). This is an open access article under the CC BY license (