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The interplay between sarcopenia and portal hypertension predicts ascites and mortality in cirrhosis

Published:December 03, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dld.2022.11.011

      Abstract

      Background

      The role of sarcopenia in predicting decompensation other than hepatic encephalopathy is unclear. We aimed to evaluate the prognostic role of sarcopenia, assessed by computed tomography (CT), in the development of ascites and mortality in patients with advanced chronic liver disease (ACLD) outside the liver transplantation (LT) setting.

      Material and Methods

      We retrospectively evaluated ACLD patients with liver stiffness measurement (LSM) >10 kPa and an available CT scan within 6 months. Sarcopenia was defined as skeletal muscle index (SMI) <50 and <39 cm2/m2, respectively, in men and women. Competing risk regression models were used to assess the variables associated with the main outcomes.

      Results

      209 patients were included in the final analysis and sarcopenia was present in 134 (64.1%). During a median follow-up of 37 (20–63) months, 52 patients developed ascites, 24 underwent LT, and 30 died. Sarcopenia was found a predictive factor of decompensation with ascites (SHR 2.083, 95%-CI: 1.091–3.978), independently from the features of clinically significant portal hypertension (LSM≥21 kPa or portosystemic shunts). Sarcopenia (SHR: 2.744, 95%-CI: 1.105–6.816) and LSM≥21 kPa (SHR: 3.973, 95%-CI: 1.548–10.197) were independent risk factors for increased mortality.

      Conclusions

      Sarcopenia and portal hypertension are two major and independent risk factors for decompensation with ascites and mortality in cirrhotic patients outside the LT context.

      Keywords

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