Background and Aim: The aim of this study was to evaluate the clinical value of transient elastography (TE) for high-risk esophageal varices (HREV) prediction in hepatitis-B-related cirrhosis patients.
Methods: A total of 238 patients with hepatitis B cirrhosis were prospectively enrolled. All patients had undergone TE and upper gastrointestinal endoscopy. Diagnostic value was assessed by the area under ROC curve (AUROC), predictive value and likelihood ratio.
Results: The size of esophageal varices correlated with liver stiffness with Kendall's tau_b 0.236 overall and 0.425 in patients with ALT ≥ 5 × upper limit of normal (ULN). The AUROC of TE predicting HREV was 0.73 (95% confidence interval 0.66–0.80) overall and 0.92 (0.82–1.01) for patients with ALT ≥ 5 × ULN. In patients with ALT ≥ 5 × ULN, cut-off 36.1 kPa predicted HREV with a 100% negative predictive value (NPV), an indefinite negative likelihood ratio (NLR), a 72.7% positive predictive value (PPV) and a positive likelihood ratio (PLR) of 9.3. The AUROC of HREV-predicting model, constructed by ultrasonography and TE (USLS), was 0.84 (0.77–0.90) in the training set and 0.85 (0.76–0.94) in the validating set. Cut-off 3.30 excluded HREV with NPV 0.946 and NLR 0.10, and cut-off 5.98 determined HREV with PPV 0.870 and PLR 10.24. Using USLS, nearly 50% of patients could avoid endoscopic screening. The model's predictive values were maintained at similar accuracy in the validation set. Differences of AUROC in USLS, liver stiffness/spleen diameter to platelet ratio score and ultrasonic score were not significant.
Conclusions: TE may predict HREV in patients with ALT ≥ 5 × ULN. Overall, the clinical values of TE and USLS for HREV prediction should be evaluated by further studies.