Background & aims: Different parameters are considered predictors of bleeding and death in alcoholic cirrhosis. The aim of this study was to establish the prognostic value of a prospective and sequential evaluation of portal pressure, variceal size, and Pugh's score in portal-hypertensive patients with alcoholic cirrhosis but no previous bleeding.
Methods: Thirty patients were evaluated for 42 +/- 5 months (median, 39 months). After baseline studies, 30 patients underwent an additional evaluation (follow-up 1; median, 10 months), 20 patients a second evaluation (follow-up 2; median, 25 months), and 13 patients a third evaluation (follow-up 3; median, 45 months). No prophylactic treatment for bleeding was given. End points were bleeding and/or death.
Results: Seventeen patients died, and 10 patients bled. At follow-up 1, portal pressure decreased both in survivors and nonbleeders (from 18.7 +/- 1.0 to 15.2 +/- 1.3 mm Hg [P < 0.01] and from 18.9 +/- 0.8 to 16.5 +/- 1.0 mm Hg [P < 0.05], respectively). On multivariate analysis (Cox model), portal pressure at follow-up 1 had the best prognostic and independent value for both bleeding and survival. Subsequent studies showed similar trends.
Conclusions: Measurements of portal pressure provide unique prognostic information for predicting portal hypertensive-related bleeding and mortality in patients with alcoholic cirrhosis.