Background: Rotational thromboelastometry (ROTEM) has been studied in patients with advanced chronic liver disease (ACLD) without considering the impact of portal hypertension. We evaluated the influence of the hepatic venous pressure gradient (HVPG) on ROTEM results in patients with ACLD.
Methods: Cross-sectional study; ACLD patients undergoing HVPG measurement within the prospective Vienna Cirrhosis Study (NCT03267615) underwent concomitant ROTEM testing.
Results: Among 159 patients (68% male; Child-Pugh-A: 53%, Child-Pugh-B: 34%, Child-Pugh-C: 13%), 21 patients (13%) had a HVPG between 6 and 10 mmHg, 84 patients (53%) between 10 and 19 mmHg, and 54 patients (34%) ≥ 20 mmHg. Child-Pugh-C patients (vs. Child-Pugh-A and vs. Child-Pugh-B patients, respectively) showed longer clot formation time (CFT: median 187 s vs. 122 s vs. 122 s, p = 0.007) and lower maximum clot firmness (MCF: median: 45 mm vs. 56 mm vs. 56 mm, p = 0.002) in extrinsic thromboelastometry (EXTEM), while platelet counts were similar across Child-Pugh stages. In the overall cohort, ROTEM parameters did not differ by severity of portal hypertension. However, among compensated Child-Pugh-A patients, MCF decreased with increasing portal pressure, i.e. in higher HVPG strata (HVPG 9-10 mmHg: median MCF: 59 mm vs. HVPG 10-19 mmHg: 56 mm vs HVPG ≥ 20 mmHg: 54 mm, p = 0.023). Furthermore, patients with short CFT and high MCF in EXTEM had higher levels of lipopolysaccharide-binding protein, C-reactive protein, and procalcitonin, as well as higher leukocyte counts (all p < 0.05).
Conclusions: Portal hypertension seems to impact ROTEM results only in compensated Child-Pugh-A patients. Bacterial translocation and systemic inflammation may trigger a procoagulant state in patients with ACLD.
Keywords: Ascites; Bacterial translocation; Cirrhosis; Clinical; Coagulation; Hepatic; Hepatic venous pressure gradient; Inflammation; Varices; Viscoelastic test.