Non-invasive detection of portal hypertension by enhanced liver fibrosis score in patients with different aetiologies of advanced chronic liver disease

Liver Int. 2020 Jul;40(7):1713-1724. doi: 10.1111/liv.14498. Epub 2020 May 18.


Background and aims: The enhanced liver fibrosis (ELF) score comprises serum markers of fibrogenesis and matrix remodelling and was developed to detect liver fibrosis, however, it may also be useful for the non-invasive detection of portal hypertension (PHT).

Methods: ELF score and its single components (TIMP1/PIIINP/HA) were analysed in 201 patients with advanced chronic liver disease (ACLD; ie hepatic venous pressure gradient (HVPG) ≥6 mm Hg). Patients with pre-/post-hepatic PHT, hepatocellular carcinoma beyond Milan criteria, and history of TIPS implantation or liver transplantation were excluded.

Results: ELF and its single components correlated with HVPG in the overall cohort: ELF: r = .443, TIMP1: r = .368, PIIINP:r = .332, and HA:r = .419 (all P < .001). The strength of the correlation between ELF and HVPG decreased in higher HVPG strata: 6-9 mm Hg:r = .569(P = .004), 10-19 mm Hg:r = .304 (P = .001) and ≥20 mm Hg:r = -.023(P = .853). Area under the receiver operating characteristics (AUROC) of ELF score to detect clinically significant PHT (CSPH; HVPG ≥ 10 mm Hg) was 0.833. Importantly, HA alone yielded an AUROC of 0.828. Detection of CSPH in strictly compensated ACLD (cACLD) patients was less accurate: AUROC: 0.759 (P < .001). CSPH was ruled-in by ELF ≥ 11.1 with a PPV of 98% (sensitivity: 61%/specificity: 92%/NPV:24%), but CSPH could not be ruled-out. ELF score had a low AUROC of 0.677 (0.60-0.75; P < .001) for the diagnosis of high-risk PHT (HRPH; HVPG ≥ 20mm Hg) and, thus, HRPH could not be ruled-in by ELF. However, ELF < 10.1 ruled-out HRPH with a NPV of 95% (sensitivity: 97%/specificity: 26%/PPV: 39%).

Conclusion: The ELF score correlates with HVPG at values <20 mm Hg. An ELF ≥ 11.1 identifies patients with a high probability of CSPH, while an ELF < 10.1 may be used to rule-out HRPH.

Trial registration: NCT03267615.

Keywords: ACLD; advanced chronic liver disease; cirrhosis; clinically significant portal hypertension; hepatic venous pressure gradient; non-invasive; portal hypertension; prediction.

MeSH terms

  • Elasticity Imaging Techniques*
  • Humans
  • Hypertension, Portal* / diagnosis
  • Hypertension, Portal* / etiology
  • Hypertension, Portal* / pathology
  • Liver / pathology
  • Liver Cirrhosis / diagnosis
  • Liver Cirrhosis / pathology
  • Liver Neoplasms* / diagnosis
  • Liver Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Portal Pressure

Associated data