Factors That Determine the Development and Progression of Gastroesophageal Varices in Patients With Chronic Hepatitis C

Robert J. Fontana, Arun J. Sanyal, Marc G. Ghany, William M. Lee, Andrea E. Reid, Deepa Naishadham, Gregory T. Everson, Jeffrey A. Kahn, Adrian M. Di Bisceglie, Gyongyi Szabo, Timothy R. Morgan, James E. Everhart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background & Aims: We aimed to identify the incidence and predictors of de novo gastroesophageal variceal formation and progression in a large cohort of patients with chronic hepatitis C and advanced fibrosis. Methods: All participants in the Hepatitis C Antiviral Long-Term Treatment against Cirrhosis Trial were offered an endoscopy before treatment and again after 4 years. Patients with varices at baseline also had an endoscopy at 2 years. Baseline laboratory and clinical parameters were analyzed as predictors of de novo variceal formation and variceal progression. Results: De novo varices developed in 157 of the 598 (26.2%) patients. Most of the new varices were small (76.4%) and only 1% of patients developed variceal hemorrhage. The likelihood of developing varices was associated with subject race (Hispanic > Caucasian > African American; P = .0005), lower baseline levels of albumin (P = .051), and higher levels of hyaluronic acid (P < .001) with an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve = .70. Among 210 patients with existing gastroesophageal varices, 74 (35.2%) had variceal progression or bleeding during follow-up. Patients with higher baseline ratios of serum aspartate/alanine aminotransferase (P = .028) and lower platelet counts (P = .0002) were at greatest risk of variceal progression (area under the receiver operating characteristic = .72). Prolonged, low-dose peginterferon-α2a therapy and β-blockers did not influence the risk of developing new or enlarging varices. Conclusion: Development of varices in patients with chronic hepatitis C is associated with patient race/ethnicity and laboratory markers of disease severity. Prolonged low-dose peginterferon-α2a therapy and β-blockers do not reduce the risk of variceal development or progression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2321-2331.e2
JournalGastroenterology
Volume138
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2010

Keywords

  • Cirrhosis
  • Esophagogastroduodenoscopy
  • Hyaluronic Acid
  • Portal Hypertension

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology

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