Background and aims: Primary prevention of variceal bleeding with beta-blockers improves survival in patients with large oesophageal varices (LOV). Therefore, cirrhotic patients frequently undergo screening endoscopy. As portal hypertension is related to liver fibrosis, this study aimed to assess the predictive value of FibroTest, a non-invasive marker of liver fibrosis, for the diagnosis of LOV in cirrhotic patients.
Methods: Ninety-nine cirrhotic patients had clinical examination, blood sample (liver function tests, platelet count, FibroTest) and upper endoscopy. Measurements of endoscopic and biochemical parameters were made blindly. Sensitivity, specificity, predictive values and area under the receiver operating characteristic curves were assessed for FibroTest, platelet count and Child-Pugh score. The main endpoint was the presence of LOV.
Results: Platelet count, prothrombin time, ascites, FibroTest and Child-Pugh class were significantly different among patients with or without LOV. FibroTest had the highest discriminative power with an area under receiver operating characteristics curves of 0.77 (SE=0.06), compared with 0.64 (0.08) and 0.68 (0.08) for platelet count and Child-Pugh score, respectively (P=0.08). A cut-off at 0.80 had a 86% negative predictive value for the diagnosis of LOV (Se=92%, Sp=21%).
Conclusion: FibroTest could aid in the diagnosis of LOV and may therefore reduce the indication of endoscopic screening in cirrhotic patients.