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Current Issue

November- December, 2017

Vol. 16 Issue 6

On the cover: The Official Journal of the Mexican Association of Hepatology, the Latin-American Association for Study of the Liver and the Canadian Association for the Study of the Liver



  • Search for Genetic Modifiers of PSC: Time to Increase the Number of Needles in the Haystack Marcin Krawczyk, Frank Lammert Page 830-831

    Primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) belongs to the most obscure liver diseases. Patients with progressive PSC require liver transplantation as only therapeutic option. Previously several HLA- and non-HLA-associated PSC risk variants have been discovered, however their involvement in the development of PSC seems to be minor in comparison to environmental determinants. Lately, variant rs853974 at the RSPO3 gene locus has been shown to modulate the course of PSC. Here we briefly discuss the phenotypes related to this polymorphism and propose alternative directions of research that might help to identify new genetic modifiers of PSC progression.


  • Evidence-Based Medicine and the Problem of Healthy Volunteers Giulio Marchesini, Francesca Marchignoli, Salvatore Petta Page 832-834

    Healthy controls are subjects without the disease being studied but may have other conditions indirectly affecting outcome. In the present epidemics of obesity a few subjects with undiagnosed nonalcoholic fatty liver disease enter clinical studies as controls, producing biased results. Stricter selection criteria should be considered to prevent this risk.


  • Curcumin in Hepatobiliary Disease: Pharmacotherapeutic Properties and Emerging Potential Clinical Applications Robert W. Hu, Elizabeth J. Carey, Keith D. Lindor, James H. Tabibian Page 835-841

    Curcumin, an aromatic phytoextract from the turmeric (Curcuma longa) rhizome, has been used for centuries for a variety of purposes, not the least of which is medicinal. A growing body of evidence suggests that curcumin has a broad range of potentially therapeutic pharmacological properties, including anti-inflammatory, anti-fibrotic, and anti-neoplastic effects, among others. Clinical applications of curcumin have been hampered by quality control concerns and limited oral bioavailability, although novel formulations appear to have largely overcome these issues. Recent in vitro and in vivo studies have found that curcumin's cytoprotective and other biological activities may play a role in an array of benign and malignant hepatobiliary conditions, including but not limited to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, cholestatic liver disease (e.g. primary sclerosing cholangitis), and cholangiocarcinoma. Here we provide an overview of fundamental principles, recent discoveries, and potential clinical hepatobiliary applications of this pleiotropic phytocompound.

  • Endoscopic Management of Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis Jodie A. Barkin, Cynthia Levy, Enrico O. Souto Page 842-850

    Primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) remains a rare but potentially devastating chronic, cholestatic liver disease. PSC causes obstruction of intra- and/or extra-hepatic bile ducts by inflammation and fibrosis, leading to biliary obstruction, cirrhosis and portal hypertension with all associated sequelae. The most dreaded consequence of PSC is cholangiocarcinoma, occurring in 10-20% of patients with PSC, and with population-based estimates of a 398-fold increased risk of cholangiocarcinoma in patients with PSC compared to the general population. We use the 4-D approach to endoscopic evaluation and management of PSC based on currently available evidence. After laboratory testing with liver chemistries and high-quality cross-sectional imaging with MRCP, the first D is Dominant stricture diagnosis and evaluation. Second, Dilation of strictures found during ERCP is performed using balloon dilation to as many segments as possible. Third, Dysplasia and cholangiocarcinoma diagnosis is performed by separated brushings for conventional cytology and fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), and consideration for direct cholangioscopy with SpyGlass™. Fourt and finally, Dosing of antibiotics is critical to prevent peri-procedural cholangitis. The aim of this review article is to explore endoscopic tools and techniques for the diagnosis and management of PSC and provide a practical approach for clinicians.


Clinical Studies

Viral Hepatitis
  • Hepatitis C and Its Metabolic Complications in Kidney Disease Fabrizio Fabrizi, Francesca M. Donato, Piergiorgio Messa Page 851-861

    Introduction. Evidence has been accumulated during the last decade showing that HCV infection plays an important activity at hepatic and extra-hepatic level. Chronic HCV is associated with a large spectrum of extra-hepatic manifestations including lympho-proliferative diseases and metabolic abnormalities (such as insulin resistance and fatty liver disease). Material and methods. We have performed an extensive review of the medical literature regarding the increased risk of cardiovascular and kidney disease that has been observed in various groups of HCV-infected patients. The potential link between such increased risk and the metabolic consequences of chronic HCV infection has been explored. Results. According to a systematic review with a meta-analysis of longitudinal studies (n = 9 clinical observational studies; n = 1,947,034 unique patients), we found a strong relationship between positive anti-HCV serologic status and increased incidence of chronic kidney disease in the adult general population, the summary estimate for adjusted hazard ratio was 1.43 (95% confidence intervals, 1.23; 1.63, P = 0.0001) (random-effects model) in anti-HCV positive patients. In another meta-analysis of clinical observational studies (n = 145,608 unique patients on long term dialysis; n = 14 observational studies), anti-HCV sero-positive status was an independent and significant risk factor for death in patients on maintenance dialysis. The summary estimate for adjusted relative risk (all-cause mortality) was 1.35 with a 95% confidence interval (CI) of 1.25; 1.47 (P < 0.01) in anti-HCV positive patients on maintenance dialysis. An updated and stratified analysis (n = 4 studies, n = 91,916 patients on maintenance dialysis) resulted in an adjusted HR for cardiovascular mortality among anti-HCV positive patients of 1.21 (95% CI, 1.06; 1.39) (P < 0.01); the homogeneity assumption was not rejected. The mechanisms underlying such relationships remain unclear; it has been suggested that HCV promotes atherogenesis through direct and indirect mechanisms. Conclusions. Clinical trials are under way to assess whether the clearance of HCV RNA from serum by direct-acting antiviral drugs reduces all cause or disease-specific (cardiovascular) mortality among patients on maintenance dialysis.

  • Fibrogenic/Angiogenic Linker for Non-Invasive Assessment of Hepatic Fibrosis Staging in Chronic Hepatitis C Among Egyptian Patients EL-Shahat A. Toson, Gamal E. Shiha, Asmaa E. Abdelgaleel Page 862-873

    Background and rationale for the study. Liver biopsy is the golden standard for staging liver fibrosis, but it may be accompanied by complications. Because of this complication, the aim of this study is to evaluate a simple noninvasive score to assess hepatic fibrosis in chronic hepatitis C genotype 4 patients which is very may have an important in diagnosis and therapeutic decision. This score [HA vascular (HAV) score] is a combination of direct markers [hyaluronic acid (HA) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)] and indirect markers [aspartate aminotransferase (AST)/alanine aminotransferase (ALT) ratio (AAR)]. Results. Samples were collected from 220 patients (F0-F4): an estimated group (n = 120) and a validated group (n = 100). HA and VEGF levels, HCV RNA, liver function tests, platelet counts were assayed, Fibroscan was done and liver biopsy was taken and the stage of liver fibrosis and the grade of inflammatory activity was calculated according to Metavir score system. HA vascular (HAV) score = -35.1 + 0.14 (HA) (ng/L) + 0.03 (VEGF) (pg/mL) + (-6.7) [AAR (AST/ALT ratio)]. The HAV score produced areas under curve of 0.979 and 0.994 for significant (F2-F4) and advanced fibrosis (F3-F4) (cut off = 0.583 and 6.3, respectively). Surprisingly, the validation study of this score gave very good values of AUCs i.e. 0.990, 0.996 and 0.995 for significant, advanced and liver cirrhosis. Conclusions: Our developed score can not only help to assess liver fibrosis staging effectively but also avoid the invasiveness and the limitations of liver biopsy in Egyptian hepatitis C virus patients.

  • Direct-Acting Antiviral Therapy Outcomes in Canadian Chronic Hepatitis C Telemedicine Patients Curtis L. Cooper, Holly Hatashita, Daniel J. Corsi, Parmvir Parmar, Raymond Corrin, Gary Garber Page 874-880

    Introduction. Many of the 300,000 HCV-infected Canadians live in under-served and remote areas without access to HCV healthcare specialists. Telemedicine (TM) and advances in HCV management can facilitate linkage of these marginalized patients to healthcare. Materials and methods. A cohort database analysis was performed on patients followed at The Ottawa Hospital and Regional Viral Hepatitis Program between January 2012 and August 2016. We compared patient characteristics, fibrosis work-up and antiviral treatment outcomes in TM (n = 157) and non-TM (n = 1,130) patients (The Ottawa Hospital Viral Hepatitis Outpatient Clinic) residing in Eastern Ontario. Results. TM patients were more often infected with genotype 3 (25.9% vs. 16.4%), were more commonly Indigenous (7.0% vs. 2.2%) had a history of injection drug use (70.1% vs. 54.9%) and incarceration (46.5% vs 35.5%). Groups were comparable in age (48.9 years), gender (63.7% male) and cirrhotic stage (24.0%). 59.2% of TM patients underwent transient elastography during regional outreach blitzes compared to 61.8% of non-TM patients (p = 0.54). Overall, half as many TM patients initiated antiviral therapy as non-TM patients (27.4% vs. 53.8%, p < 0.001). The introduction of DAA regimens is bridging this gap (22.2% of TM patients vs. 34.3% of non-TM patients). SVR rates with interferon-free, DAA regimens were 94.7% and 94.8% in TM and non-TM groups (p = 0.99). Conclusion. Our TM program engages and retains a population that faces many barriers to effective HCV treatment. TM patients initiated HCV therapy and achieved High SVR rates comparable to those obtained using traditional models of care.

  • An Inexpensive Digital Image Analysis Technique for Liver Fibrosis Quantification in Chronic Hepatitis B Patients Yin Zhou, Guo Qing Ru, Rong Yan, Ming Shan Wang, Mei Juan Chen, Li Li Yu, Hong Wang Page 881-887

    Background and aim. Quantitative digital imaging analysis to evaluate liver fibrosis is accurate, but its clinical use is limited by its high cost and lack of standardization. We aimed to validate an inexpensive digital imaging analysis technique for fibrosis quantification in chronic hepatitis B patients. Material and methods. In total, 142 chronic hepatitis B patients who underwent liver biopsy and analysis of serum fibrosis markers were included. Images of Sirius red stain sections were captured and processed using Adobe Photoshop CS3 software. The percentage of fibrosis (fibrosis index) was determined by the ratio of the fibrosis area to the total sample area, expressed in pixels, and calculated automatically. Results. A strong correlation between the fibrosis index and the Ishak, Metavir, and Laennec histological staging systems were observed (r = 0.83, 0.86, and 0.84, respectively; p < 0.001). The cutoff value associated with cirrhosis was 7.7% with an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUROC) of 0.95 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.92-0.99, p < 0.001). Furthermore, the fibrosis index yielded a cutoff value of 8.9% (AUROC, 0.74; 95% CI, 0.66-0.86), 12% (AUROC, 0.84; 95% CI, 0.75-0.93), and 14% (AUROC, 0.97; 95% CI, 0.92-1.0) for the diagnosis of cirrhosis 4a, 4b, and 4c, respectively. No serum markers or fibrosis models were correlated with the fibrosis index in Metavir F2-F4. Conclusions. The present digital imaging analysis technique is reproducible and available worldwide, allowing its use in clinical practice, and can be considered as a complementary tool to traditional histological methods.

  • Clinical Analysis of Polyethylene Glycol Interferon-α Treatment in 155 Hepatitis B e Antigen (HBeAg)-Positive Chronic Hepatitis B (CHB) Patients Xin Luo, Ji-Xian Yu, Lei Xie, Wen-Jun Ma, Li-Hong Wang Page 888-892

    Purpose. This study aims to investigate the antiviral effect of polyethylene glycol (PEG)-interferon α-2a and PEG-interferon α-2b treatment on hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg)-positive chronic hepatitis B (CHB) at the 48th week of treatment and the 24th and 48th week after withdrawal, in order to provide guidance on the antiviral treatment of HBeAg-positive CHB patients. Material and methods. Antiviral treatment was performed on 155 HBeAg-positive CHB patients. Among these patients, 66 patients received PEG-interferon α-2a treatment and 89 patients received PEG-interferon α-2b treatment; and these treatments were administered by subcutaneous injection, once per week, which lasted for 48 weeks. Other antiviral and hepatoprotective drugs were not used during the treatment. Results. At the 48th week of treatment, ALT recovery rate, HBsAg seroconversion rate, HBeAg seroconversion rate and HBV DNA titers dropped below 200 IU/mL rate were 69.7%, 6.1%, 27.3% and 50.0%, respectively, in the PEG-interferon α-2a group; and were 70.8%, 6.7%, 33.7% and 62.9%, respectively, in the PEG-interferon α-2b group. At the 24th and 48th week of follow-up after withdrawal, HBsAg seroconversion rate in these two groups did not change; and HBeAg seroconversion rate further increased. Furthermore, HBV DNA revealed a low recurrence rate. The difference between these two groups was not significantly significant. Conclusions. PEG-interferon α-2a and PEG-interferon α-2b are effective antiviral drugs for the treatment of HbeAgpositive CHB, which has a HBsAg seroconversion rate of more than 5%. Furthermore, this sustained response effect was maintained at the 24th and 48th week of follow-up after withdrawal.

  • Burden of Chronic Viral Hepatitis and Liver Cirrhosis in Brazil - the Brazilian Global Burden of Disease Study Juliana R. de Carvalho, Cristiane A. Villela-Nogueira, Renata M. Perez, Flavia B. Portugal, Luisa S. Flor, Mónica R. Campos, Joyce M.A. Schramm Page 893-900

    Introduction and aim. Data on epidemiology of liver diseases in Brazil is scarce. This study aimed to estimate the burden of chronic viral hepatitis and liver cirrhosis in the country. Materials and methods.The indicator used was disability-adjusted life year (DALY), a sum of years of life lost due to premature mortality (YLL) and years lived with disability (YLD). Liver cirrhosis was analyzed in etiologic categories and cirrhosis of viral origin was considered part of the burden of chronic hepatitis. Results. There were 57,380 DALYs (30.3 per 100,000 inhabitants) attributable to chronic hepatitis B and cirrhosis due to hepatitis B, with 41,262 DALYs in men. Most burden was caused by YLL (47,015 or 24.8/100,000) rather than YLD (10,365 or 5.5/100,000). Chronic hepatitis C and cirrhosis due to hepatitis C were responsible for 207,747 DALYs (109.6/100,000), of which 137,922 were YLL (72.7/100,000) and 69,825 (36.8/100,000) were YLD, with a higher proportion of DALYs in men (73.9%). Cirrhosis due to alcohol or other causes had a total of 536,169 DALYs (1,4% of total DALYs in Brazil), with 418,272 YLL (341,140 in men) and 117,897 YLD (97,965 in men). Highest DALYs' rates occurred at ages 60-69 in chronic hepatitis and at ages 45-59 in cirrhosis due to alcohol or other causes. Conclusion. Chronic viral hepatitis and liver cirrhosis are responsible for a significant burden in Brazil, affecting mainly men and individuals still in their productive years. Most burden is related to non-viral causes of cirrhosis, with a major contribution of alcohol.

Non alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)
  • The Great Chinese Famine Exposure in Early Life and the Risk of Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease in Adult Women Xiaoya Zheng, Wei Ren, Lilin Gong, Jian Long, Rong Luo, Yonghong Wang Page 901-908

    Introduction and aim. Previous studies found famine exposure was associated with a higher risk of metabolic syndrome (MetS). In the study, we investigated the relationship between Chinese famine exposure and the risk of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) in adult women. Materials and methods. Data were obtained from subjects via routine physical examinations in the Public Health Center of our hospital between 2011 and 2014. Women were categorized into the following three groups: control, prenatally exposed, and postnatally exposed. Hepatic steatosis was diagnosed according to the guidelines established for the diagnosis and treatment of NAFLD. Results. The prevalence rates of NAFLD among non-exposed, prenatally, and postnatally exposed women were 17.3, 23.0, and 22.9%, respectively. Pre-exposed and postnatally exposed women had higher risks of NAFLD, exhibiting ORs (95% CI) of 1.33 (1.04-1.70) and 1.26 (1.03-1.55), respectively. Prenatally, but not postnatally, exposed women had significantly higher risks of having abnormal alanine aminotransferase (ALT), with ORs of 1.30 (1.05-1.61). Conclusions. The results indicate a significant association between famine exposure in early life and the risk of NAFLD in adult women. Prenatally exposed women displayed higher risks of NAFLD and mild, moderate and severe steatosis.

  • The Expression of PNPLA3 Polymorphism could be the Key for Severe Liver Disease in NAFLD in Hispanic Population Leonardo A. Martínez, Elena Larrieta, Juan J. Calva, David Kershenobich, Aldo Torre Page 909-915

    Background. Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) encompasses: fatty liver (SS), steatohepatitis (NASH) with or without fibrosis and cirrhosis. Patatine-like phosphatas in domain 3 (PNPLA3; adiponutrin; SNP rs738409 C/G, M148I) shows anabolic and catabolic activities on lipid metabolism and significant association to fatty liver content; however, I148M demographics and ethnics, as its role with NAFLD have not been fully elucidated. Material and methods. PNPLA3 genotyping from peripheral blood DNA by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and direct sequencing, 211 patients diagnosed with NAFLD including SS, NASH and fibrosis spectrum. Results. Eighty nine per cent showed the G risk allele [CC: 23 (10.5%), GC: 73 (34.7%), GG 115 (54.7%)], the allele frequency was 77%, NASH (71%), SS (80%) and fibrosis (73%). GG genotype carriers showed 3.8 times (CI 95%: 3.03 - 4.79) of increased risk of steatohepatitis and 2.3 times more (CI 95%: 1.77 ~ 3.23) risk of having liver fibrosis (CC). PNPLA3 (GC, GG) conditioned higher probability of low levels of HDL cholesterol (p < 0.010), SS even in normal weight (p < 0.007), insulin resistance by HOMA (p < 0.029), NAFLD fibrosis score showed > 0.675 (p < 0.001) and altered serum alanine aminotransferase (p < 0.05). Conclusion. PNPLA3 expression in Hispanics could be decisive in NAFLD pathogenesis, it's highly prevalent and it's a key to condition and determine the spectrum associated, SS, NASH and fibrosis.

Liver transplantation
  • Rotational Thromboelastometry or Conventional Coagulation Tests in Liver Transplantation: Comparing Blood Loss, Transfusions, and Cost Laura Smart, Khalid Mumtaz, Danielle Scharpf, Nicole O, Daniel Traetow, Sylvester Black, Anthony J. Michaels, Elmahdi Elkhammas, Robert Kirkpatrick, A. James Hanje Page 916-923

    Introduction. Orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) can be associated with significant bleeding requiring multiple blood product transfusions. Rotational thromboelastometry (ROTEM) is a point-of-care device that has been used to monitor coagulation during OLT. Whether it reduces blood loss/transfusions during OLT remains controversial. Materials and methods. We aim to compare ROTEM with conventional coagulation tests (aPTT, PT, INR, platelet count, fibrinogen) to guide transfusion of platelets, cryoprecipitate, and fresh frozen plasma (FFP) during OLT over 3 years. Thirty-four patients who had transfusions guided by ROTEM were compared to 34 controls who received transfusions guided by conventional coagulation tests (CCT). Intraoperative blood loss, type/ amount of blood products transfused, and direct costs were compared between the two groups. Results. The ROTEM group had significantly less intra-operative blood loss (2.0 vs. 3.0 L, p = 0.04) and fresh frozen plasma (FFP) transfusion (4 units vs. 6.5 units, p = 0.015) compared to the CCT group (2.0L vs. 3.0L, p = 0.04). However, total number of patients transfused cryoprecipitate was increased in ROTEM (n = 25;73%) as compared to CCT (n = 19; 56%), p = 0.033. The direct cost of blood products plus testing was reduced in the ROTEM group ($113,142.89 vs. $127,814.77). Conclusion. In conclusion implementation of a ROTEM-guided transfusion algorithm resulted in a reduction in intra-operative blood loss, FFP transfusion and a decrease in direct cost during OLT. ROTEM is a useful and safe point of care device in OLT setting.

  • Endoscopic Therapy is Effective for Recurrent Anastomotic Biliary Strictures after Orthotopic Liver Transplantation Sun-Chuan Dai, David Goldberg, Amol Agarwal, Gene K. Ma, Clinton Yam, Nuzhat A. Ahmad, Gregory G. Ginsberg, David L. Jaffe, Michael L. Kochman, Kim M. Olthoff, Vinay Chandrasekhara Page 924-931

    Introduction. Orthotopic liver transplantation anastomotic biliary strictures (OLT ABS) are managed with endoscopic biliary stent therapy but the recurrence rate is substantial. Our aims were to retrospectively determine the recurrence rates of OLT ABS after initial successful stent therapy, characterize the management of recurrences and identify associated variables. Materials and methods. Clinical data from 943 patients receiving non-living donor OLT at our institution from 2005-2012 were reviewed, and 123 OLT ABS patients receiving stent therapy were identified. Features of their endoscopic stent therapy and other pertinent clinical information were evaluated. Results. ABS recurred in 25.5% of patients (24/94) after an initial successful course of stent therapy. Recurrences were received a second course of endoscopic stent therapy and 67% of patients (16/24) achieved long-term remediation of ABS. Six patients underwent a third course of endoscopic stent therapy with 4 patients achieving remediation. Overall remediation rate among ABS recurrences was 83.3% (20/24). A bivariate comparison demonstrated HCV infection, age, median months of maximal stenting and a lower maximum cumulative stent diameter were risk factors for ABS recurrence. Using a Cox regression model, only HCV status proved to be a risk factor for recurrence. Discussion. In conclusion repeat stent therapy achieved high stricture remediation rates. Recurrence after the first or even second course of stenting should not imply failure of endoscopic therapy. A positive HCV status may be associated with higher stricture recurrence rates and this association should be further investigated.

  • New Onset Diabetes and Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease after Liver Transplantation Page 932-940

    Background & Aims. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is an emerging cause of graft dysfunction after liver transplantation (LT) frequently related to the development of new onset diabetes after LT (NODAT). This study was undertaken to evaluate the frequencies of NODAT and NAFLD after LT, to investigate their major risk factors and the impact of de novo or recurrent NAFLD in graft function. Material and methods. 119 patients submitted to LT were prospectively evaluated. Results. After 4 ± 1 years, NODAT, recurrent and de novo NAFLD were observed in 31%, 56% and 43% of the subjects, respectively. Only 3 patients had non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) without fibrosis. Other risk factors for NAFLD such as arterial hypertension (AHT), metabolic syndrome (MS), hypertriglyceridemia and obesity were seen in 51%, 50%, 35% and 24% of the subjects, respectively. In addition, insulin resistance (IR), assessed by HOMA-IR and β-cell dysfunction, determined by HOMA-β, were observed in 16% and 94% of the patients, respectively. Occurrence of NODAT was associated with male gender, higher waist circumference, higher HOMA-IR and lower HOMA-β values. No correlation was found between NAFLD and NODAT, MS, hypertriglyceridemia, obesity and HOMAIR and HOMA-β levels. Conclusions. NODAT, recurrent and de novo NAFLD are common after LT but are not associated with signs of graft dysfunction, possibly due to the low frequency of IR and NASH. No correlation is observed between NAFLD and NODAT, MS, hypertriglyceridemia, obesity and IR. β-cell dysfunction and diabetes, however, are seen in most of the patients, possibly due to calcineurin inhibitor toxicity.

  • Congenital Shunts of the Portal Venous System: Case-series of Uncommon Shunts Liliana Santos, Susana Nobre, Nadia Laezza, Catarina Cunha, Isabel Gonçalves, Maria F. Lopes Page 941-949

    Background and aims. Congenital shunts of the portal venous system are rare entities that can present in children with clinical heterogeneity. To evaluate the clinical course of children with uncommon shunts presenting to our institution and examine the available literature on this topic. Medical records of children with rare forms of congenital shunts were retrospectively reviewed for demographics, symptoms, management, and outcome between 2003 and 2016. Results. Three female patients with congenital shunts, including a congenital mesenterico-portal Rex shunt (n = 1) and congenital portosystemic shunts (CPSS) (n = 2), were referred for surgical evaluation between ages 4 and 9. Median follow-up was 8 years (range, 6-13 years). One asymptomatic patient did not require treatment and remained disease-free during long-term follow-up. The other 2 patients with CPSS and unusual symptoms, including liver focal nodular hyperplasia (FNH) in infancy (n = 1) and bleeding from esophageal varices (n = 1), showed subsequent progression to liver nodules that were managed by endovascular shunt occlusion. One patient showed symptom resolution and the other showed stable lesions at last follow-up. Literature yielded descriptions of two cases of congenital mesenterico-portal Rex shunt, one case of coincident CPSS and FNH in infancy, but zero reports of bleeding from esophageal varices. Conclusions. This case series examines each distinct patient's presentation, discusses the diagnosis, management and outcome and compares findings while discussing literature on this topic. A high index of suspicion and familiarity with unusual forms and treatment options is required to allow timely diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

  • Analysis of the MELD Score Impact in the Outcome of Endovascular Portal Vein Reconstruction Adriana Torres-Machorro, Manuel Guerrero-Hernández, Javier E. Anaya-Ayala, Aldo Torre, Hugo Laparra-Escareno, Cesar Cuen-Ojeda, Ramón Garcia-Alva, Carlos A. Hinojosa Page 950-958

    Introduction. Endovascular therapy represents a less invasive alternative to open surgery for reconstruction of the portal vein (PV) and the spleno-mesenteric venous confluence to treat Portal hypertension. The objective of this study is to determine if the Model for End-Stage Liver Disease (MELD) score is a useful method to evaluate the risk of morbidity and mortality during endovascular approaches. Material and methods. Patients that underwent endovascular reconstruction of the PV or spleno-mesenteric confluence were identified retrospectively. Data were collected from November 2011 to August 2016. The MELD score was calculated using international normalized ratio, serum billirubin and creatinine. Patients were grouped into moderate (≤15) and high (> 15) MELD. Associations of the MELD score on the postprocedural morbidity, mortality and vessels patency were assessed by two-sided Fisher's exact test. Results. Seventeen patients were identified; MELD score distribution was: ≤ 15 in 10 patients (59%) and > 15 in 7 (41%). Even distribution of severe PV thrombosis was treated in both groups, performing predominately jugular access in the high MELD score group (OR 0.10; 95%; CI 0.014-0.89; p = 0.052) in contrast to a percutaneous transhepatic access in the moderate MELD score group. Analysis comparing moderate and high MELD scores was not able to demonstrate differences in mortality, morbidity or patency rates. Conclusion. MELD score did not prove to be a useful method to evaluate risk of morbidity and mortality; however a high score should not contraindicate endovascular approaches. In our experience a high technical success, good patency rates and low complication rates were observed.

Basic studies

  • Long-Term, Low-Dose Exposure to Microcystin-LR Does not Cause or Increase the Severity of Liver Disease in Rodents Meaghan Labine, Yuewen Gong, Gerald Y. Minuk Page 959-965

    Background. Acute exposure to high concentrations of microcystin-LR (MC-LR) can cause significant hepatocyte injury. Aim. To document the effects of long-term, low-dose MC-LR exposure on hepatic inflammation and fibrosis in mice with healthy and diseased livers. Material and methods. Male CD1 mice (N = 20/group) were exposed to 1.0 μg/L of MC-LR in drinking water; 1.0 μg/L MC-LR plus 300 mg/L of the hepatotoxin thioacetamide (MC-LR/TAA); or 300 mg/L TAA alone for 28 weeks. Liver biochemistry and histology were documented at the end of the study period. In addition, hepatic stellate cells (HSCs), were exposed in vitro to MC-LR (0.1-10,000 μg/L) and monitored for changes in cell metabolism, proliferation and activation. Results. Liver biochemistry and histology were essentially normal in MC-LR alone exposed mice. MC-LR/TAA and TAA alone exposed mice had significant hepatic inflammation and fibrosis but the extent of the changes were similar in the two groups. In vitro, MC-LR had no effect on HSC metabolism, proliferation or activation. Conclusion. Long-term, low-dose exposure to MC-LR is unlikely to lead to chronic liver disease in the setting of a normal liver or exacerbate existing liver disease in the setting of ongoing hepatitis.


  • Metastases of Hepatocellular Carcinoma Misdiagnosed as Isolated Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Assunta Greco, Roberto De Masi, Stefania Orlando, Antonio Metrangolo, Vittorio Zecca, Giancarlo Morciano, Antonella De Donno, Francesco Bagordo, Giancarlo Piccinni Page 966-969

    At present, cardiac metastasis of hepatocellular carcinoma is rarely mentioned in the literature. We report a hepatocellular carcinoma patient with cardiac metastasis misdiagnosed as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in 2011. Two years later, on presentation of syncope, an abnormal ventricular septal size was recorded by ultrasound scan, and was subsequently shown by magnetic resonance imaging to be a tumour lesion. A myocardial biopsy confirmed infiltration of hepatocellular carcinoma. This observation underlines the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma cardiac metastasis, manifested in its infiltrative form as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. In conclusion, we suggest that the ultrasound appearance of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in hepatocellular carcinoma patients should be seen as a "red flag" and recommend the introduction of magnetic resonance imaging assessment of transplant candidates.

  • Cryptogenic Cirrhosis and Sitosterolemia: A Treatable Disease If Identified but Fatal If Missed Fateh Bazerbachi, Erin E. Conboy, Taofic Mounajjed, Kymberly D. Watt, Dusica Babovic-Vuksanovic, Shailendra B. Patel, Patrick S. Kamath Page 970-978

    Sitosterolemia is an autosomal recessive metabolic disease caused by mutations in ABCG5 or ABCG8 genes which encode for the (ATP)-binding cassette (ABC) transporters that are responsible for the trafficking of xenosterols. Liver involvement is not a recognized manifestation of this disease, and cirrhosis has been reported only once in the medical literature. We describe a fatal case of a 21-year old South Asian male who presented with decompensated cirrhosis, and biochemical abnormalities consistent with sitosterolemia. Genetic testing showed a homozygous pathogenic mutation in ABCG5, confirming the diagnosis. Sitosterolemia is a rare, but likely under-recognized condition, and a high degree of suspicion is imperative to make the diagnosis. We propose that sitosterolemia should be included in the differential diagnosis for patients with cryptogenic cirrhosis, especially as there are effective oral therapies to treat this condition. Newly diagnosed sitosterolemia patients should undergo a thorough hepatology evaluation and follow-up to evaluate for the presence, development, and progression of any hepatic involvement.


  • Reply Paulina Chinchilla-López, Oscar Ramirez-Pérez, Vania Cruz-Ramón, Nahum Méndez-Sánchez Page 980-980

    This article does not has abstract.




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