Publications by authors named "Chavdar Pavlov"

25 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Safety and Effectiveness of Essential Phospholipids Paste in Patients with Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease or Viral Hepatitis.

Turk J Gastroenterol 2021 09;32(9):750-757

Sanofi-Aventis, Moscow, Russia.

Background: Essential phospholipids (EPL) are used as adjuvant treatment in people with fatty liver disease and other chronic liver diseases. A new formulation of EPL paste was developed to improve patient compliance. The study was aimed to assess the safety, patient-reported outcomes, and impact on compliance of the new EPL paste formulation in patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) or viral hepatitis.

Methods: The study enrolled 147 patients (48.3% male; mean ± standard deviation (SD) age 44.8 ± 10.5 years) in the intention-to-treat population; 72.8% had NAFLD and 27.9% had viral hepatitis B (HBV) or hepatitis C (HCV). Patients received EPL paste (one 600 mg sachet 3 times daily) for 12 weeks, with 4-, 8-, and 12-week scheduled visits and a 13-week follow-up visit. Patient-reported outcomes were evaluated at 4, 8, and 12 weeks compared with baseline using dedicated Likert scales. Compliance was assessed by comparing actual versus prescribed dosing of the EPL.

Results: After 12-week treatment with EPL paste, statistically significant improvements were observed in mean ± SD Global Overall Symptom scores (from 4.21 ± 1.09 to 1.87 ± 0.91; P < .01) and overall Gastrointestinal Symptom scores (from 19.91 ± 5.74 to 11.17 ± 3.57; P < .01), compared to baseline scores. Compliance with prescribed essential phospholipid treatment was 99% throughout the 12-week treatment period.

Conclusion: Essential phospholipids paste had a favorable safety profile associated with improved gastrointestinal symptoms and with high levels of compliance in patients with NAFLD and viral hepatitis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.5152/tjg.2021.20294DOI Listing
September 2021

The Effects of Intermittent Hypoxic-Hyperoxic Exposures on Lipid Profile and Inflammation in Patients With Metabolic Syndrome.

Front Cardiovasc Med 2021 27;8:700826. Epub 2021 Aug 27.

Department of Cardiology, Functional and Ultrasound Diagnostics, N.V. Sklifosofsky, I. M. Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University, Moscow, Russia.

Patients with metabolic syndrome (MS) tend to suffer from comorbidities, and are often simultaneously affected by obesity, dysglycemia, hypertension, and dyslipidemia. This syndrome can be reversed if it is timely diagnosed and treated with a combination of risk factors-reducing lifestyle changes and a tailored pharmacological plan. Interval hypoxic-hyperoxic training (IHHT) has been shown as an effective program in reducing cardiovascular risk factors in patients with MS even in the absence of exercise. However, the influence of IHHT on the lipid profile and inflammation in this clinical population remains relatively unknown. A prospective, single-center, randomized controlled trial was conducted on 65 (33 men) patients with MS aged 29-74 years, who were randomly allocated to the IHHT or control (sham) experimental groups. The IHHT group completed a 3-week, 5 days/week intermittent exposure to hypoxia and hyperoxia. The control (sham) group followed the same protocol but was breathing room air instead. The primary endpoints were the lipid profile (concentrations of total cholesterol [TC], low-density lipoprotein [LDL], high-density lipoprotein [HDL], and triglycerides [TG]) and the inflammatory factors such as high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP), galectin-3, heat shock proteins (Hsp70). The secondary endpoints were alanine aminotransferase (ALT), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), N-terminal pro-hormone of brain natriuretic peptide level (NTproBNP), transforming growth factor beta-1 (TGF-beta1), heart-type fatty acid-binding protein (H-FABP), and nitric oxide synthase 2 (NOS2). There were no differences between the two groups but the different baseline values have affected these results. The IHHT group demonstrated pre-post decrease in total cholesterol ( = 0.001), LDL ( = 0.001), and TG levels ( = 0.001). We have also found a decrease in the CRP-hs ( = 0.015) and Hsp70 ( = 0.006) in IHHT-group after intervention, and a significant decrease in pre-post (delta) differences of NTproBNP ( < 0.0001) in the IHHT group compared to the control group. In addition, the patients of the IHHT group showed a statistically significant decrease in pre-post differences of ALT and AST levels in comparison with the control group ( = 0.001). No significant IHHT complications or serious adverse events were observed. The IHHT appears to improve lipid profile and anti-inflammatory status. It is a safe, well-tolerated procedure, and could be recommended as an auxiliary treatment in patients suffering from MS, however, the experiment results were limited by the baseline group differences. ClinicalTrials.gov, identifier [NCT04791397]. Evaluation of the effect of IHHT on vascular stiffness and elasticity of the liver tissue in patients with MS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fcvm.2021.700826DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8429814PMC
August 2021

Nutritional supplementation for nonalcohol-related fatty liver disease: a network meta-analysis.

Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2021 07 19;7:CD013157. Epub 2021 Jul 19.

Division of Surgery and Interventional Science, University College London, London, UK.

Background: The prevalence of non-alcohol-related fatty liver disease (NAFLD) varies between 19% and 33% in different populations. NAFLD decreases life expectancy and increases risks of liver cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma, and the requirement for liver transplantation. Uncertainty surrounds relative benefits and harms of various nutritional supplements in NAFLD. Currently no nutritional supplement is recommended for people with NAFLD.

Objectives: • To assess the benefits and harms of different nutritional supplements for treatment of NAFLD through a network meta-analysis • To generate rankings of different nutritional supplements according to their safety and efficacy SEARCH METHODS: We searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, MEDLINE, Embase, Science Citation Index Expanded, Conference Proceedings Citation Index-Science, the World Health Organization International Clinical Trials Registry Platform, and trials registers until February 2021 to identify randomised clinical trials in people with NAFLD.

Selection Criteria: We included only randomised clinical trials (irrespective of language, blinding, or status) for people with NAFLD, irrespective of method of diagnosis, age and diabetic status of participants, or presence of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). We excluded randomised clinical trials in which participants had previously undergone liver transplantation.

Data Collection And Analysis: We performed a network meta-analysis with OpenBUGS using Bayesian methods whenever possible and calculated differences in treatments using hazard ratios (HRs), odds ratios (ORs), and rate ratios with 95% credible intervals (CrIs) based on an available-case analysis, according to National Institute of Health and Care Excellence Decision Support Unit guidance.

Main Results: We included in the review a total of 202 randomised clinical trials (14,200 participants). Nineteen trials were at low risk of bias. A total of 32 different interventions were compared in these trials. A total of 115 trials (7732 participants) were included in one or more comparisons. The remaining trials did not report any of the outcomes of interest for this review. Follow-up ranged from 1 month to 28 months. The follow-up period in trials that reported clinical outcomes was 2 months to 28 months. During this follow-up period, clinical events related to NAFLD such as mortality, liver cirrhosis, liver decompensation, liver transplantation, hepatocellular carcinoma, and liver-related mortality were sparse. We did not calculate effect estimates for mortality because of sparse data (zero events for at least one of the groups in the trial). None of the trials reported that they measured overall health-related quality of life using a validated scale. The evidence is very uncertain about effects of interventions on serious adverse events (number of people or number of events). We are very uncertain about effects on adverse events of most of the supplements that we investigated, as the evidence is of very low certainty. However, people taking PUFA (polyunsaturated fatty acid) may be more likely to experience an adverse event than those not receiving an active intervention (network meta-analysis results: OR 4.44, 95% CrI 2.40 to 8.48; low-certainty evidence; 4 trials, 203 participants; direct evidence: OR 4.43, 95% CrI 2.43 to 8.42). People who take other supplements (a category that includes nutritional supplements other than vitamins, fatty acids, phospholipids, and antioxidants) had higher numbers of adverse events than those not receiving an active intervention (network meta-analysis: rate ratio 1.73, 95% CrI 1.26 to 2.41; 6 trials, 291 participants; direct evidence: rate ratio 1.72, 95% CrI 1.25 to 2.40; low-certainty evidence). Data were sparse (zero events in all groups in the trial) for liver transplantation, liver decompensation, and hepatocellular carcinoma. So, we did not perform formal analysis for these outcomes. The evidence is very uncertain about effects of other antioxidants (antioxidants other than vitamins) compared to no active intervention on liver cirrhosis (HR 1.68, 95% CrI 0.23 to 15.10; 1 trial, 99 participants; very low-certainty evidence). The evidence is very uncertain about effects of interventions in any of the remaining comparisons, or data were sparse (with zero events in at least one of the groups), precluding formal calculations of effect estimates. Data were probably because of the very short follow-up period (2 months to 28 months). It takes follow-up of 8 to 28 years to detect differences in mortality between people with NAFLD and the general population. Therefore, it is unlikely that differences in clinical outcomes are noted in trials providing less than 5 to 10 years of follow-up.

Authors' Conclusions: The evidence indicates considerable uncertainty about effects of nutritional supplementation compared to no additional intervention on all clinical outcomes for people with non-alcohol-related fatty liver disease. Accordingly, high-quality randomised comparative clinical trials with adequate follow-up are needed. We propose registry-based randomised clinical trials or cohort multiple randomised clinical trials (study design in which multiple interventions are trialed within large longitudinal cohorts of patients to gain efficiencies and align trials more closely to standard clinical practice) comparing interventions such as vitamin E, prebiotics/probiotics/synbiotics, PUFAs, and no nutritional supplementation. The reason for the choice of interventions is the impact of these interventions on indirect outcomes, which may translate to clinical benefit. Outcomes in such trials should be mortality, health-related quality of life, decompensated liver cirrhosis, liver transplantation, and resource utilisation measures including costs of intervention and decreased healthcare utilisation after minimum follow-up of 8 years (to find meaningful differences in clinically important outcomes).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD013157.pub2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8406904PMC
July 2021

Lifestyle modifications for nonalcohol-related fatty liver disease: a network meta-analysis.

Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2021 06 11;6:CD013156. Epub 2021 Jun 11.

Division of Surgery and Interventional Science, University College London, London, UK.

Background: The prevalence of nonalcohol-related fatty liver disease (NAFLD) varies between 19% and 33% in different populations. NAFLD decreases life expectancy and increases the risks of liver cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma, and requirement for liver transplantation. There is uncertainty surrounding the relative benefits and harms of various lifestyle interventions for people with NAFLD.

Objectives: To assess the comparative benefits and harms of different lifestyle interventions in the treatment of NAFLD through a network meta-analysis, and to generate rankings of the different lifestyle interventions according to their safety and efficacy.

Search Methods: We searched CENTRAL, MEDLINE, Embase, Science Citation Index Expanded, Conference Proceedings Citation Index - Science, World Health Organization International Clinical Trials Registry Platform, and trials registers until February 2021 to identify randomised clinical trials in people with NAFLD.

Selection Criteria: We included only randomised clinical trials (irrespective of language, blinding, or status) in people with NAFLD, whatever the method of diagnosis, age, and diabetic status of participants, or presence of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). We excluded randomised clinical trials in which participants had previously undergone liver transplantation.

Data Collection And Analysis: We planned to perform a network meta-analysis with OpenBUGS using Bayesian methods and to calculate the differences in treatments using hazard ratios (HRs), odds ratios (ORs), and rate ratios (RaRs) with 95% credible intervals (CrIs) based on an available-participant analysis, according to National Institute of Health and Care Excellence Decision Support Unit guidance. However, the data were too sparse for the clinical outcomes. We therefore performed only direct comparisons (head-to-head comparisons) with OpenBUGS using Bayesian methods.

Main Results: We included a total of 59 randomised clinical trials (3631 participants) in the review. All but two trials were at high risk of bias. A total of 33 different interventions, ranging from advice to supervised exercise and special diets, or a combination of these and no additional intervention were compared in these trials. The reference treatment was no active intervention. Twenty-eight trials (1942 participants) were included in one or more comparisons. The follow-up ranged from 1 month to 24 months. The remaining trials did not report any of the outcomes of interest for this review. The follow-up period in the trials that reported clinical outcomes was 2 months to 24 months. During this short follow-up period, clinical events related to NAFLD such as mortality, liver cirrhosis, liver decompensation, liver transplantation, hepatocellular carcinoma, and liver-related mortality were sparse. This is probably because of the very short follow-up periods. It takes a follow-up of 8 years to 28 years to detect differences in mortality between people with NAFLD and the general population. It is therefore unlikely that differences by clinical outcomes will be noted in trials with less than 5 years to 10 years of follow-up. In one trial, one participant developed an adverse event. There were no adverse events in any of the remaining participants in this trial, or in any of the remaining trials, which seemed to be directly related to the intervention.

Authors' Conclusions: The evidence indicates considerable uncertainty about the effects of the lifestyle interventions compared with no additional intervention (to general public health advice) on any of the clinical outcomes after a short follow-up period of 2 months to 24 months in people with nonalcohol-related fatty liver disease. Accordingly, high-quality randomised clinical trials with adequate follow-up are needed. We propose registry-based randomised clinical trials or cohort multiple randomised clinical trials (a study design in which multiple interventions are trialed within large longitudinal cohorts of participants to gain efficiencies and align trials more closely to standard clinical practice), comparing aerobic exercise and dietary advice versus standard of care (exercise and dietary advice received as part of national health promotion). The reason for the choice of aerobic exercise and dietary advice is the impact of these interventions on indirect outcomes which may translate to clinical benefit. The outcomes in such trials should be mortality, health-related quality of life, decompensated liver cirrhosis, liver transplantation, and resource use measures including costs of intervention and decreased healthcare use after a minimum follow-up of eight years, to find meaningful differences in the clinically important outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD013156.pub2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8193812PMC
June 2021

Treatment for bleeding oesophageal varices in people with decompensated liver cirrhosis: a network meta-analysis.

Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2021 04 10;4:CD013155. Epub 2021 Apr 10.

Division of Surgery and Interventional Science, University College London, London, UK.

Background: Approximately 40% to 95% of people with liver cirrhosis have oesophageal varices. About 15% to 20% of oesophageal varices bleed within about one to three years after diagnosis. Several different treatments are available, including, among others, endoscopic sclerotherapy, variceal band ligation, somatostatin analogues, vasopressin analogues, and balloon tamponade. However, there is uncertainty surrounding the individual and relative benefits and harms of these treatments.

Objectives: To compare the benefits and harms of different initial treatments for variceal bleeding from oesophageal varices in adults with decompensated liver cirrhosis, through a network meta-analysis; and to generate rankings of the different treatments for acute bleeding oesophageal varices, according to their benefits and harms.

Search Methods: We searched CENTRAL, MEDLINE, Embase, Science Citation Index Expanded, World Health Organization International Clinical Trials Registry Platform, and trials registers until 17 December 2019, to identify randomised clinical trials (RCTs) in people with cirrhosis and acute bleeding from oesophageal varices.

Selection Criteria: We included only RCTs (irrespective of language, blinding, or status) in adults with cirrhosis and acutely bleeding oesophageal varices. We excluded RCTs in which participants had bleeding only from gastric varices, those who failed previous treatment (refractory bleeding), those in whom initial haemostasis was achieved before inclusion into the trial, and those who had previously undergone liver transplantation.

Data Collection And Analysis: We performed a network meta-analysis with OpenBUGS software, using Bayesian methods, and calculated the differences in treatments using odds ratios (OR) and rate ratios with 95% credible intervals (CrI) based on an available-case analysis, according to National Institute of Health and Care Excellence Decision Support Unit guidance. We performed also the direct comparisons from RCTs using the same codes and the same technical details.

Main Results: We included a total of 52 RCTs (4580 participants) in the review. Forty-eight trials (4042 participants) were included in one or more comparisons in the review. The trials that provided the information included people with cirrhosis due to varied aetiologies and those with and without a previous history of bleeding. We included outcomes assessed up to six weeks. All trials were at high risk of bias. A total of 19 interventions were compared in the trials (sclerotherapy, somatostatin analogues, vasopressin analogues, sclerotherapy plus somatostatin analogues, variceal band ligation, balloon tamponade, somatostatin analogues plus variceal band ligation, nitrates plus vasopressin analogues, no active intervention, sclerotherapy plus variceal band ligation, balloon tamponade plus sclerotherapy, balloon tamponade plus somatostatin analogues, balloon tamponade plus vasopressin analogues, variceal band ligation plus vasopressin analogues, balloon tamponade plus nitrates plus vasopressin analogues, balloon tamponade plus variceal band ligation, portocaval shunt, sclerotherapy plus transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS), and sclerotherapy plus vasopressin analogues). We have reported the effect estimates for the primary and secondary outcomes when there was evidence of differences between the interventions against the reference treatment of sclerotherapy, but reported the other results of the primary and secondary outcomes versus the reference treatment of sclerotherapy without the effect estimates when there was no evidence of differences in order to provide a concise summary of the results. Overall, 15.8% of the trial participants who received the reference treatment of sclerotherapy (chosen because this was the commonest treatment compared in the trials) died during the follow-up periods, which ranged from three days to six weeks. Based on moderate-certainty evidence, somatostatin analogues alone had higher mortality than sclerotherapy (OR 1.57, 95% CrI 1.04 to 2.41; network estimate; direct comparison: 4 trials; 353 participants) and vasopressin analogues alone had higher mortality than sclerotherapy (OR 1.70, 95% CrI 1.13 to 2.62; network estimate; direct comparison: 2 trials; 438 participants). None of the trials reported health-related quality of life. Based on low-certainty evidence, a higher proportion of people receiving balloon tamponade plus sclerotherapy had more serious adverse events than those receiving only sclerotherapy (OR 4.23, 95% CrI 1.22 to 17.80; direct estimate; 1 RCT; 60 participants). Based on moderate-certainty evidence, people receiving vasopressin analogues alone and those receiving variceal band ligation had fewer adverse events than those receiving only sclerotherapy (rate ratio 0.59, 95% CrI 0.35 to 0.96; network estimate; direct comparison: 1 RCT; 219 participants; and rate ratio 0.40, 95% CrI 0.21 to 0.74; network estimate; direct comparison: 1 RCT; 77 participants; respectively). Based on low-certainty evidence, the proportion of people who developed symptomatic rebleed was smaller in people who received sclerotherapy plus somatostatin analogues than those receiving only sclerotherapy (OR 0.21, 95% CrI 0.03 to 0.94; direct estimate; 1 RCT; 105 participants). The evidence suggests considerable uncertainty about the effect of the interventions in the remaining comparisons where sclerotherapy was the control intervention.

Authors' Conclusions: Based on moderate-certainty evidence, somatostatin analogues alone and vasopressin analogues alone (with supportive therapy) probably result in increased mortality, compared to endoscopic sclerotherapy. Based on moderate-certainty evidence, vasopressin analogues alone and band ligation alone probably result in fewer adverse events compared to endoscopic sclerotherapy. Based on low-certainty evidence, balloon tamponade plus sclerotherapy may result in large increases in serious adverse events compared to sclerotherapy. Based on low-certainty evidence, sclerotherapy plus somatostatin analogues may result in large decreases in symptomatic rebleed compared to sclerotherapy. In the remaining comparisons, the evidence indicates considerable uncertainty about the effects of the interventions, compared to sclerotherapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD013155.pub2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8094233PMC
April 2021

Primary prevention of variceal bleeding in people with oesophageal varices due to liver cirrhosis: a network meta-analysis.

Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2021 04 6;4:CD013121. Epub 2021 Apr 6.

Division of Surgery and Interventional Science, University College London, London, UK.

Background: Approximately 40% to 95% of people with cirrhosis have oesophageal varices. About 15% to 20% of oesophageal varices bleed in about one to three years. There are several different treatments to prevent bleeding, including: beta-blockers, endoscopic sclerotherapy, and variceal band ligation. However, there is uncertainty surrounding their individual and relative benefits and harms.

Objectives: To compare the benefits and harms of different treatments for prevention of first variceal bleeding from oesophageal varices in adults with liver cirrhosis through a network meta-analysis and to generate rankings of the different treatments for prevention of first variceal bleeding from oesophageal varices according to their safety and efficacy.

Search Methods: We searched CENTRAL, MEDLINE, Embase, Science Citation Index Expanded, World Health Organization International Clinical Trials Registry Platform, and trials registers to December 2019 to identify randomised clinical trials in people with cirrhosis and oesophageal varices with no history of bleeding.

Selection Criteria: We included only randomised clinical trials (irrespective of language, blinding, or status) in adults with cirrhosis and oesophageal varices with no history of bleeding. We excluded randomised clinical trials in which participants had previous bleeding from oesophageal varices and those who had previously undergone liver transplantation or previously received prophylactic treatment for oesophageal varices.

Data Collection And Analysis: We performed a network meta-analysis with OpenBUGS using Bayesian methods and calculated the differences in treatments using hazard ratios (HR), odds ratios (OR), and rate ratios with 95% credible intervals (CrI) based on an available-case analysis, according to National Institute for Health and Care Excellence Decision Support Unit guidance. We performed the direct comparisons from randomised clinical trials using the same codes and the same technical details.

Main Results: We included 66 randomised clinical trials (6653 participants) in the review. Sixty trials (6212 participants) provided data for one or more comparisons in the review. The trials that provided the information included people with cirrhosis due to varied aetiologies and those at high risk of bleeding from oesophageal varices. The follow-up in the trials that reported outcomes ranged from 6 months to 60 months. All but one of the trials were at high risk of bias. The interventions compared included beta-blockers, no active intervention, variceal band ligation, sclerotherapy, beta-blockers plus variceal band ligation, beta-blockers plus nitrates, nitrates, beta-blockers plus sclerotherapy, and portocaval shunt. Overall, 21.2% of participants who received non-selective beta-blockers ('beta-blockers') - the reference treatment (chosen because this was the most common treatment compared in the trials) - died during 8-month to 60-month follow-up. Based on low-certainty evidence, beta-blockers, variceal band ligation, sclerotherapy, and beta-blockers plus nitrates all had lower mortality versus no active intervention (beta-blockers: HR 0.49, 95% CrI 0.36 to 0.67; direct comparison HR: 0.59, 95% CrI 0.42 to 0.83; 10 trials, 1200 participants; variceal band ligation: HR 0.51, 95% CrI 0.35 to 0.74; direct comparison HR 0.49, 95% CrI 0.12 to 2.14; 3 trials, 355 participants; sclerotherapy: HR 0.66, 95% CrI 0.51 to 0.85; direct comparison HR 0.61, 95% CrI 0.41 to 0.90; 18 trials, 1666 participants; beta-blockers plus nitrates: HR 0.41, 95% CrI 0.20 to 0.85; no direct comparison). No trials reported health-related quality of life. Based on low-certainty evidence, variceal band ligation had a higher number of serious adverse events (number of events) than beta-blockers (rate ratio 10.49, 95% CrI 2.83 to 60.64; 1 trial, 168 participants). Based on low-certainty evidence, beta-blockers plus nitrates had a higher number of 'any adverse events (number of participants)' than beta-blockers alone (OR 3.41, 95% CrI 1.11 to 11.28; 1 trial, 57 participants). Based on low-certainty evidence, adverse events (number of events) were higher in sclerotherapy than in beta-blockers (rate ratio 2.49, 95% CrI 1.53 to 4.22; direct comparison rate ratio 2.47, 95% CrI 1.27 to 5.06; 2 trials, 90 participants), and in beta-blockers plus variceal band ligation than in beta-blockers (direct comparison rate ratio 1.72, 95% CrI 1.08 to 2.76; 1 trial, 140 participants). Based on low-certainty evidence, any variceal bleed was lower in beta-blockers plus variceal band ligation than in beta-blockers (direct comparison HR 0.21, 95% CrI 0.04 to 0.71; 1 trial, 173 participants). Based on low-certainty evidence, any variceal bleed was higher in nitrates than beta-blockers (direct comparison HR 6.40, 95% CrI 1.58 to 47.42; 1 trial, 52 participants). The evidence indicates considerable uncertainty about the effect of the interventions in the remaining comparisons.

Authors' Conclusions: Based on low-certainty evidence, beta-blockers, variceal band ligation, sclerotherapy, and beta-blockers plus nitrates may decrease mortality compared to no intervention in people with high-risk oesophageal varices in people with cirrhosis and no previous history of bleeding. Based on low-certainty evidence, variceal band ligation may result in a higher number of serious adverse events than beta-blockers. The evidence indicates considerable uncertainty about the effect of beta-blockers versus variceal band ligation on variceal bleeding. The evidence also indicates considerable uncertainty about the effect of the interventions in most of the remaining comparisons.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD013121.pub2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8092414PMC
April 2021

Secondary prevention of variceal bleeding in adults with previous oesophageal variceal bleeding due to decompensated liver cirrhosis: a network meta-analysis.

Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2021 03 30;3:CD013122. Epub 2021 Mar 30.

Division of Surgery and Interventional Science, University College London, London, UK.

Background: Approximately 40% to 95% of people with cirrhosis have oesophageal varices. About 15% to 20% of oesophageal varices bleed in about one to three years of diagnosis. Several different treatments are available, which include endoscopic sclerotherapy, variceal band ligation, beta-blockers, transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS), and surgical portocaval shunts, among others. However, there is uncertainty surrounding their individual and relative benefits and harms.

Objectives: To compare the benefits and harms of different initial treatments for secondary prevention of variceal bleeding in adults with previous oesophageal variceal bleeding due to decompensated liver cirrhosis through a network meta-analysis and to generate rankings of the different treatments for secondary prevention according to their safety and efficacy.

Search Methods: We searched CENTRAL, MEDLINE, Embase, Science Citation Index Expanded, World Health Organization International Clinical Trials Registry Platform, and trials registers until December 2019 to identify randomised clinical trials in people with cirrhosis and a previous history of bleeding from oesophageal varices.

Selection Criteria: We included only randomised clinical trials (irrespective of language, blinding, or status) in adults with cirrhosis and previous history of bleeding from oesophageal varices. We excluded randomised clinical trials in which participants had no previous history of bleeding from oesophageal varices, previous history of bleeding only from gastric varices, those who failed previous treatment (refractory bleeding), those who had acute bleeding at the time of treatment, and those who had previously undergone liver transplantation.

Data Collection And Analysis: We performed a network meta-analysis with OpenBUGS using Bayesian methods and calculated the differences in treatments using hazard ratios (HR), odds ratios (OR) and rate ratios with 95% credible intervals (CrI) based on an available-case analysis, according to National Institute of Health and Care Excellence Decision Support Unit guidance.

Main Results: We included a total of 48 randomised clinical trials (3526 participants) in the review. Forty-six trials (3442 participants) were included in one or more comparisons. The trials that provided the information included people with cirrhosis due to varied aetiologies. The follow-up ranged from two months to 61 months. All the trials were at high risk of bias. A total of 12 interventions were compared in these trials (sclerotherapy, beta-blockers, variceal band ligation, beta-blockers plus sclerotherapy, no active intervention, TIPS (transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt), beta-blockers plus nitrates, portocaval shunt, sclerotherapy plus variceal band ligation, beta-blockers plus nitrates plus variceal band ligation, beta-blockers plus variceal band ligation, sclerotherapy plus nitrates). Overall, 22.5% of the trial participants who received the reference treatment (chosen because this was the commonest treatment compared in the trials) of sclerotherapy died during the follow-up period ranging from two months to 61 months. There was considerable uncertainty in the effects of interventions on mortality. Accordingly, none of the interventions showed superiority over another. None of the trials reported health-related quality of life. Based on low-certainty evidence, variceal band ligation may result in fewer serious adverse events (number of people) than sclerotherapy (OR 0.19; 95% CrI 0.06 to 0.54; 1 trial; 100 participants). Based on low or very low-certainty evidence, the adverse events (number of participants) and adverse events (number of events) may be different across many comparisons; however, these differences are due to very small trials at high risk of bias showing large differences in some comparisons leading to many differences despite absence of direct evidence. Based on low-certainty evidence, TIPS may result in large decrease in symptomatic rebleed than variceal band ligation (HR 0.12; 95% CrI 0.03 to 0.41; 1 trial; 58 participants). Based on moderate-certainty evidence, any variceal rebleed was probably lower in sclerotherapy than in no active intervention (HR 0.62; 95% CrI 0.35 to 0.99, direct comparison HR 0.66; 95% CrI 0.11 to 3.13; 3 trials; 296 participants), beta-blockers plus sclerotherapy than sclerotherapy alone (HR 0.60; 95% CrI 0.37 to 0.95; direct comparison HR 0.50; 95% CrI 0.07 to 2.96; 4 trials; 231 participants); TIPS than sclerotherapy (HR 0.18; 95% CrI 0.08 to 0.38; direct comparison HR 0.22; 95% CrI 0.01 to 7.51; 2 trials; 109 participants), and in portocaval shunt than sclerotherapy (HR 0.21; 95% CrI 0.05 to 0.77; no direct comparison) groups. Based on low-certainty evidence, beta-blockers alone and TIPS might result in more, other compensation, events than sclerotherapy (rate ratio 2.37; 95% CrI 1.35 to 4.67; 1 trial; 65 participants and rate ratio 2.30; 95% CrI 1.20 to 4.65; 2 trials; 109 participants; low-certainty evidence). The evidence indicates considerable uncertainty about the effect of the interventions including those related to beta-blockers plus variceal band ligation in the remaining comparisons.

Authors' Conclusions: The evidence indicates considerable uncertainty about the effect of the interventions on mortality. Variceal band ligation might result in fewer serious adverse events than sclerotherapy. TIPS might result in a large decrease in symptomatic rebleed than variceal band ligation. Sclerotherapy probably results in fewer 'any' variceal rebleeding than no active intervention. Beta-blockers plus sclerotherapy and TIPS probably result in fewer 'any' variceal rebleeding than sclerotherapy. Beta-blockers alone and TIPS might result in more other compensation events than sclerotherapy. The evidence indicates considerable uncertainty about the effect of the interventions in the remaining comparisons. Accordingly, high-quality randomised comparative clinical trials are needed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD013122.pub2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8094621PMC
March 2021

A New, Non-Invasive Scale for Steatosis Developed Using Real-World Data From Russian Outpatients to Aid in the Diagnosis of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease.

Adv Ther 2020 11 16;37(11):4627-4640. Epub 2020 Sep 16.

Department of Medical Affairs, Sanofi, Moscow, Russia.

Introduction: The current non-invasive tools for the diagnosis of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) have methodological limitations. We aimed to develop a non-invasive scale to assist in the diagnosis of NAFLD. To achieve our aim, we conducted a secondary analysis of data from a large observational study conducted in Russia.

Methods: This retrospective analysis assessed the frequency of NAFLD in the population of patients in the DIREG_L_06725 study, an epidemiological, observational, cross-sectional, multicenter study performed in 50,145 outpatients from 16 Russian cities. Among the cohort of patients diagnosed with NAFLD, we identified factors associated with the risk of NAFLD. To develop a non-invasive tool for diagnosing NAFLD, we also determined the frequency of steatohepatitis.

Results: Our analysis included 48,297 patients; NAFLD was present in 20,281 patients (42.0%). The majority (64.1%) were women (80.3% post-menopause), and 87% had a body mass index (BMI) > 27.0 kg/m. We developed a fully non-invasive scale (St-index) that showed a specificity of 91.4% for ruling in steatosis, and a sensitivity of 93.8% for ruling out steatosis. Multivariate regression analyses conducted in the subgroups of patients aged ≥ 12 and < 18 years and those with BMI < 25.0 kg/m produced area under the receiver operating characteristic (AUROC) curve values of 0.8243 and 0.7054, respectively. The factors most strongly associated with the development of NAFLD were age > 35 years, presence of type 2 diabetes mellitus, and a waist circumference/height ratio > 0.54.

Conclusion: Our non-invasive steatosis scale, St-index, can help physicians diagnose NAFLD in high-risk patients in the absence of ultrasound data.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12325-020-01493-wDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7547949PMC
November 2020

Effectiveness of phosphatidylcholine as adjunctive therapy in improving liver function tests in patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and metabolic comorbidities: real-life observational study from Russia.

BMJ Open Gastroenterol 2020 26;7(1):e000368. Epub 2020 Mar 26.

Medical Affairs, Sanofi-Aventis SA, Moscow, Russian Federation.

Objective: Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common cause of abnormal results of liver function tests. Earlier research showed that polyenylphosphatidylcholine (PPC) has hepatoprotective effects and thus can be used for the treatment of NAFLD and the prevention of its progression. Accordingly, the aim of this observational study was to evaluate if PPC administered as adjunctive therapy in routine clinical practice can effectively improve liver function tests of NAFLD in Russian patients with associated metabolic comorbidities.

Design: A total of 2843 adult patients with newly diagnosed NAFLD, who had a least one of four comorbidities, namely, overweight/obesity, hypertension, type 2 diabetes mellitus, and hypercholesterolaemia, and who were prescribed 1.8 g/day of PPC as an adjunctive treatment to standard care, were enrolled during 2015-2016. Laboratory data were collected at baseline and 12 and 24 weeks of the study, and included liver function tests (aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT)), fasting plasma glucose, and lipid profile.

Results: Overall, 2263 patients (79.6%) had at least two metabolic comorbidities associated with NAFLD, and overweight/obesity was the most common comorbidity reported in 2298 (80.8%) patients. At 24 weeks, there was a significant decrease in liver enzyme levels (all p<0.001 compared with baseline). Across the four comorbidity subgroups, there was a mean drop of ALT levels ranging from 19.7 to 22.0 U/L, AST from 16.9 to 18.4 U/L, and GGT from 17.2 to 18.7 U/L. Similar findings were reported in subgroups with either one, two, three, or four comorbidities, with a significant decrease in liver enzyme levels ranging from 18.4 to 22.4 U/L for ALT, 14.8 to 18.7 U/L for AST, and 15.5 to 19.5 U/L for GGT.

Conclusions: Adjuvant treatment with PPC resulted in consistent improvements in liver enzymes in patients with newly diagnosed NAFLD and associated metabolic comorbidities.

Trial Registration Number: NCT00063622.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjgast-2019-000368DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7170405PMC
November 2021

Effectiveness of phosphatidylcholine in alleviating steatosis in patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and cardiometabolic comorbidities (MANPOWER study).

BMJ Open Gastroenterol 2020 13;7(1):e000341. Epub 2020 Jan 13.

Medical Affairs, Sanofi-Aventis SA, Moscow, Russian Federation.

Objective: The concept of using naturally occurring compounds such as polyenylphosphatidylcholine (PPC) as an adjunctive therapy to treat non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and alleviate or reverse hepatic steatosis appears a very attractive option for liver protection. We aim to evaluate if PPC adjunctive therapy can effectively improve the ultrasonographic features of NAFLD in routine clinical practice in Russian patients with cardiometabolic comorbidities.

Design: This 24-week, observational, prospective study was carried out in 174 medical sites across 6 federal districts of Russia. A total of 2843 adult patients with newly diagnosed NAFLD, who had a least one of four comorbidities, namely overweight/obesity, hypertension, type 2 diabetes mellitus and hypercholesterolaemia, and who received PPC as an adjunctive treatment to standard care, were enrolled. The assessment of liver ultrasonography was qualitative.

Results: Overall, 2263 (79.6%) patients had at least two metabolic comorbidities associated with NAFLD, and overweight/obesity was the most common comorbidity reported in 2298 (80.8%) patients. Almost all study participants (2837/2843; 99.8%) were prescribed 1.8 g of PPC administered three times daily. At baseline, the most frequently identified abnormalities on ultrasound were liver hyperechogenicity (84.0% of patients) and heterogeneous liver structure (62.9%). At 24 weeks, a significant (p<0.05) improvement in liver echogenicity and in liver structure was observed in 1932/2827 (68.3%) patients (95% CI 66.6% to 70.1%) and in 1207/2827 (42.7%) patients (95% CI 40.9% to 44.5%), respectively. The analysis of ultrasonographic signs by number of comorbidities revealed similar findings-liver echogenicity improved in 67.2%-69.3% and liver structure in 35.6%-45.3% of patients depending on the number of comorbidities.

Conclusion: This study showed that PPC adjunctive therapy may be useful in improving the ultrasonographic features of NAFLD in patients with associated cardiometabolic comorbidities. It also supports evidence regarding the role of PPC in the complex management of NAFLD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjgast-2019-000341DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7011021PMC
November 2021

Treatment for ascites in adults with decompensated liver cirrhosis: a network meta-analysis.

Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2020 01 16;1:CD013123. Epub 2020 Jan 16.

University College London, Division of Surgery and Interventional Science, London, UK, NW3 2QG.

Background: Approximately 20% of people with cirrhosis develop ascites. Several different treatments are available; including, among others, paracentesis plus fluid replacement, transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunts, aldosterone antagonists, and loop diuretics. However, there is uncertainty surrounding their relative efficacy.

Objectives: To compare the benefits and harms of different treatments for ascites in people with decompensated liver cirrhosis through a network meta-analysis and to generate rankings of the different treatments for ascites according to their safety and efficacy.

Search Methods: We searched CENTRAL, MEDLINE, Embase, Science Citation Index Expanded, World Health Organization International Clinical Trials Registry Platform, and trials registers until May 2019 to identify randomised clinical trials in people with cirrhosis and ascites.

Selection Criteria: We included only randomised clinical trials (irrespective of language, blinding, or status) in adults with cirrhosis and ascites. We excluded randomised clinical trials in which participants had previously undergone liver transplantation.

Data Collection And Analysis: We performed a network meta-analysis with OpenBUGS using Bayesian methods and calculated the odds ratio, rate ratio, and hazard ratio (HR) with 95% credible intervals (CrI) based on an available-case analysis, according to National Institute of Health and Care Excellence Decision Support Unit guidance.

Main Results: We included a total of 49 randomised clinical trials (3521 participants) in the review. Forty-two trials (2870 participants) were included in one or more outcomes in the review. The trials that provided the information included people with cirrhosis due to varied aetiologies, without other features of decompensation, having mainly grade 3 (severe), recurrent, or refractory ascites. The follow-up in the trials ranged from 0.1 to 84 months. All the trials were at high risk of bias, and the overall certainty of evidence was low or very low. Approximately 36.8% of participants who received paracentesis plus fluid replacement (reference group, the current standard treatment) died within 11 months. There was no evidence of differences in mortality, adverse events, or liver transplantation in people receiving different interventions compared to paracentesis plus fluid replacement (very low-certainty evidence). Resolution of ascites at maximal follow-up was higher with transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (HR 9.44; 95% CrI 1.93 to 62.68) and adding aldosterone antagonists to paracentesis plus fluid replacement (HR 30.63; 95% CrI 5.06 to 692.98) compared to paracentesis plus fluid replacement (very low-certainty evidence). Aldosterone antagonists plus loop diuretics had a higher rate of other decompensation events such as hepatic encephalopathy, hepatorenal syndrome, and variceal bleeding compared to paracentesis plus fluid replacement (rate ratio 2.04; 95% CrI 1.37 to 3.10) (very low-certainty evidence). None of the trials using paracentesis plus fluid replacement reported health-related quality of life or symptomatic recovery from ascites.

Funding: the source of funding for four trials were industries which would benefit from the results of the study; 24 trials received no additional funding or were funded by neutral organisations; and the source of funding for the remaining 21 trials was unclear.

Authors' Conclusions: Based on very low-certainty evidence, there is considerable uncertainty about whether interventions for ascites in people with decompensated liver cirrhosis decrease mortality, adverse events, or liver transplantation compared to paracentesis plus fluid replacement in people with decompensated liver cirrhosis and ascites. Based on very low-certainty evidence, transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt and adding aldosterone antagonists to paracentesis plus fluid replacement may increase the resolution of ascites compared to paracentesis plus fluid replacement. Based on very low-certainty evidence, aldosterone antagonists plus loop diuretics may increase the decompensation rate compared to paracentesis plus fluid replacement.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD013123.pub2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6984622PMC
January 2020

Antibiotic prophylaxis to prevent spontaneous bacterial peritonitis in people with liver cirrhosis: a network meta-analysis.

Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2020 01 16;1:CD013125. Epub 2020 Jan 16.

University College London, Division of Surgery and Interventional Science, London, UK, NW3 2PF.

Background: Approximately 2.5% of all hospitalisations in people with liver cirrhosis are for spontaneous bacterial peritonitis. Spontaneous bacterial peritonitis is associated with significant short-term mortality; therefore, it is important to prevent spontaneous bacterial peritonitis in people at high risk of developing it. Antibiotic prophylaxis forms the mainstay preventive method, but this has to be balanced against the development of drug-resistant spontaneous bacterial peritonitis, which is difficult to treat, and other adverse events. Several different prophylactic antibiotic treatments are available; however, there is uncertainty surrounding their relative efficacy and optimal combination.

Objectives: To compare the benefits and harms of different prophylactic antibiotic treatments for prevention of spontaneous bacterial peritonitis in people with liver cirrhosis using a network meta-analysis and to generate rankings of the different prophylactic antibiotic treatments according to their safety and efficacy.

Search Methods: We searched CENTRAL, MEDLINE, Embase, Science Citation Index Expanded, World Health Organization International Clinical Trials Registry Platform, and trials registers to November 2018 to identify randomised clinical trials in people with cirrhosis at risk of developing spontaneous bacterial peritonitis.

Selection Criteria: We included only randomised clinical trials (irrespective of language, blinding, or status) in adults with cirrhosis undergoing prophylactic treatment to prevent spontaneous bacterial peritonitis. We excluded randomised clinical trials in which participants had previously undergone liver transplantation, or were receiving antibiotics for treatment of spontaneous bacterial peritonitis or other purposes.

Data Collection And Analysis: We performed a network meta-analysis with OpenBUGS using Bayesian methods and calculated the odds ratio, rate ratio, and hazard ratio (HR) with 95% credible intervals (CrI) based on an available-case analysis, according to National Institute of Health and Care Excellence Decision Support Unit guidance.

Main Results: We included 29 randomised clinical trials (3896 participants; nine antibiotic regimens (ciprofloxacin, neomycin, norfloxacin, norfloxacin plus neomycin, norfloxacin plus rifaximin, rifaximin, rufloxacin, sparfloxacin, sulfamethoxazole plus trimethoprim), and 'no active intervention' in the review. Twenty-three trials (2587 participants) were included in one or more outcomes in the review. The trials that provided the information included people with cirrhosis due to varied aetiologies, with or without other features of decompensation, having ascites with low protein or previous history of spontaneous bacterial peritonitis. The follow-up in the trials ranged from 1 to 12 months. Many of the trials were at high risk of bias, and the overall certainty of evidence was low or very low. Overall, approximately 10% of trial participants developed spontaneous bacterial peritonitis and 15% of trial participants died. There was no evidence of differences between any of the antibiotics and no intervention in terms of mortality (very low certainty) or number of serious adverse events (very low certainty). However, because of the wide CrIs, clinically important differences in these outcomes cannot be ruled out. None of the trials reported health-related quality of life or the proportion of people with serious adverse events. There was no evidence of differences between any of the antibiotics and no intervention in terms of proportion of people with 'any adverse events' (very low certainty), liver transplantation (very low certainty), or the proportion of people who developed spontaneous bacterial peritonitis (very low certainty). The number of 'any' adverse events per participant was fewer with norfloxacin (rate ratio 0.74, 95% CrI 0.59 to 0.94; 4 trials, 546 participants; low certainty) and sulfamethoxazole plus trimethoprim (rate ratio 0.19, 95% CrI 0.02 to 0.81; 1 trial, 60 participants; low certainty) versus no active intervention. There was no evidence of differences between the other antibiotics and no intervention in the number of 'any' adverse events per participant (very low certainty). There were fewer other decompensation events with rifaximin versus no active intervention (rate ratio 0.61, 65% CrI 0.46 to 0.80; 3 trials, 575 participants; low certainty) and norfloxacin plus neomycin (rate ratio 0.06, 95% CrI 0.00 to 0.33; 1 trial, 22 participants; low certainty). There was no evidence of differences between the other antibiotics and no intervention in the number of decompensations events per participant (very low certainty). None of the trials reported health-related quality of life or development of symptomatic spontaneous bacterial peritonitis. One would expect some correlation between the above outcomes, with interventions demonstrating effectiveness across several outcomes. This was not the case. The possible reasons for this include sparse data and selective reporting bias, which makes the results unreliable. Therefore, one cannot draw any conclusions from these inconsistent differences based on sparse data. There was no evidence of any differences in the subgroup analyses (performed when possible) based on whether the prophylaxis was primary or secondary.

Funding: the source of funding for five trials were organisations who would benefit from the results of the study; six trials received no additional funding or were funded by neutral organisations; and the source of funding for the remaining 18 trials was unclear.

Authors' Conclusions: Based on very low-certainty evidence, there is considerable uncertainty about whether antibiotic prophylaxis is beneficial, and if beneficial, which antibiotic prophylaxis is most beneficial in people with cirrhosis and ascites with low protein or history of spontaneous bacterial peritonitis. Future randomised clinical trials should be adequately powered, employ blinding, avoid postrandomisation dropouts (or perform intention-to-treat analysis), and use clinically important outcomes such as mortality, health-related quality of life, and decompensation events.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD013125.pub2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6984637PMC
January 2020

Induction immunosuppression in adults undergoing liver transplantation: a network meta-analysis.

Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2020 01 16;1:CD013203. Epub 2020 Jan 16.

University College London, Division of Surgery and Interventional Science, Rowland Hill Street, London, UK, NW32PF.

Background: Liver transplantation is considered the definitive treatment for people with liver failure. As part of post-liver transplantation management, immunosuppression (suppressing the host immunity) is given to prevent graft rejections. Immunosuppressive drugs can be classified into those that are used for a short period during the beginning phase of immunosuppression (induction immunosuppression) and those that are used over the entire lifetime of the individual (maintenance immunosuppression), because it is widely believed that graft rejections are more common during the first few months after liver transplantation. Some drugs such as glucocorticosteroids may be used for both induction and maintenance immunosuppression because of their multiple modalities of action. There is considerable uncertainty as to whether induction immunosuppression is necessary and if so, the relative efficacy of different immunosuppressive agents.

Objectives: To assess the comparative benefits and harms of different induction immunosuppressive regimens in adults undergoing liver transplantation through a network meta-analysis and to generate rankings of the different induction immunosuppressive regimens according to their safety and efficacy.

Search Methods: We searched CENTRAL, MEDLINE, Embase, Science Citation Index Expanded, World Health Organization International Clinical Trials Registry Platform, and trials registers until July 2019 to identify randomised clinical trials in adults undergoing liver transplantation.

Selection Criteria: We included only randomised clinical trials (irrespective of language, blinding, or status) in adults undergoing liver transplantation. We excluded randomised clinical trials in which participants had multivisceral transplantation and those who already had graft rejections.

Data Collection And Analysis: We performed a network meta-analysis with OpenBUGS using Bayesian methods and calculated the odds ratio (OR), rate ratio, and hazard ratio (HR) with 95% credible intervals (CrIs) based on an available case analysis, according to National Institute of Health and Care Excellence Decision Support Unit guidance.

Main Results: We included a total of 25 trials (3271 participants; 8 treatments) in the review. Twenty-three trials (3017 participants) were included in one or more outcomes in the review. The trials that provided the information included people undergoing primary liver transplantation for various indications and excluded those with HIV and those with renal impairment. The follow-up in the trials ranged from three to 76 months, with a median follow-up of 12 months among trials. All except one trial were at high risk of bias, and the overall certainty of evidence was very low. Overall, approximately 7.4% of people who received the standard regimen of glucocorticosteroid induction died and 12.2% developed graft failure. All-cause mortality and graft failure was lower with basiliximab compared with glucocorticosteroid induction: all-cause mortality (HR 0.53, 95% CrI 0.31 to 0.93; network estimate, based on 2 direct comparison trials (131 participants; low-certainty evidence)); and graft failure (HR 0.44, 95% CrI 0.28 to 0.70; direct estimate, based on 1 trial (47 participants; low-certainty evidence)). There was no evidence of differences in all-cause mortality and graft failure between other induction immunosuppressants and glucocorticosteroids in either the direct comparison or the network meta-analysis (very low-certainty evidence). There was also no evidence of differences in serious adverse events (proportion), serious adverse events (number), renal failure, any adverse events (proportion), any adverse events (number), liver retransplantation, graft rejections (any), or graft rejections (requiring treatment) between other induction immunosuppressants and glucocorticosteroids in either the direct comparison or the network meta-analysis (very low-certainty evidence). However, because of the wide CrIs, clinically important differences in these outcomes cannot be ruled out. None of the studies reported health-related quality of life.

Funding: the source of funding for 14 trials was drug companies who would benefit from the results of the study; two trials were funded by neutral organisations who have no vested interests in the results of the study; and the source of funding for the remaining nine trials was unclear.

Authors' Conclusions: Based on low-certainty evidence, basiliximab induction may decrease mortality and graft failure compared to glucocorticosteroids induction in people undergoing liver transplantation. However, there is considerable uncertainty about this finding because this information is based on small trials at high risk of bias. The evidence is uncertain about the effects of different induction immunosuppressants on other clinical outcomes, including graft rejections. Future randomised clinical trials should be adequately powered, employ blinding, avoid post-randomisation dropouts (or perform intention-to-treat analysis), and use clinically important outcomes such as mortality, graft failure, and health-related quality of life.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD013203.pub2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6984652PMC
January 2020

Is small intestinal bacterial overgrowth a cause of hyperdynamic circulation in cirrhosis?

Turk J Gastroenterol 2019 Nov;30(11):964-975

Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Sechenov University, Moscow, Russia.

Background/aims: Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) and hemodynamic changes are common in cirrhosis. We wanted to examine our hypothesis whether SIBO leads to hemodynamic changes in cirrhosis.

Materials And Methods: A total of 50 patients with cirrhosis and 15 healthy controls were enrolled in a pilot prospective study. All participants underwent the lactulose hydrogen breath test for SIBO and echocardiography with a simultaneous assessment of blood pressure and heart rate. Cardiac output and systemic vascular resistance were calculated.

Results: Study participants with SIBO had a lower systolic blood pressure and systemic vascular resistance compared to those without SIBO and to healthy controls (110.2±12.3 mmHg vs. 126.2±21.0 mmHg and 121.2±9.8 mmHg; p=0.005 and p=0.011, respectively; 1312±352 dyn•s•cm-5 vs. 1704±424 dyn•s•cm-5 and 1648±272 dyn•s•cm-5; p=0.001 and p=0.006, respectively), but a higher cardiac output (5.38±1.41 l/min vs. 4.52±1.03 l/min and 4.40±0.68 l/min; p=0.034 and p=0.041, respectively) and C-reactive protein (10.5[1.2-16.5] mg/l vs. 2.8[0.6-9.1] mg/l; p=0.028; no comparison with healthy controls). There were no significant differences between patients without SIBO and healthy controls with regard to systolic blood pressure (p=0.554), systemic vascular resistance (p=0.874), and cardiac output (p=0.795). SIBO was associated with vasodilation and hyperdynamic circulation in decompensated cirrhosis (p=0.002; p=0.012), but not in compensated cirrhosis (p=1.000; p=0.474).

Conclusions: SIBO is associated with hyperdynamic circulation and other hemodynamic changes in cirrhosis and may be a principal factor causing these through systemic inflammation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.5152/tjg.2019.18551DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6883995PMC
November 2019

Letter to the Editor: Glucocorticosteroids for Alcohol-Associated Hepatitis.

Hepatology 2020 04;71(4):1524

Cochrane Hepato-Biliary Group, Copenhagen Trial Unit, Center for Clinical Intervention Research, Copenhagen University Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark.

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April 2020

Antibiotic treatment for spontaneous bacterial peritonitis in people with decompensated liver cirrhosis: a network meta-analysis.

Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2019 09 16;9:CD013120. Epub 2019 Sep 16.

Sheila Sherlock Liver Centre, Royal Free Hospital and the UCL Institute of Liver and Digestive Health, London, UK.

Background: Approximately 2.5% of all hospitalisations in people with cirrhosis are for spontaneous bacterial peritonitis (SBP). Antibiotics, in addition to supportive treatment (fluid and electrolyte balance, treatment of shock), form the mainstay treatments of SBP. Various antibiotics are available for the treatment of SBP, but there is uncertainty regarding the best antibiotic for SBP.

Objectives: To compare the benefits and harms of different antibiotic treatments for spontaneous bacterial peritonitis (SBP) in people with decompensated liver cirrhosis.

Search Methods: We searched CENTRAL, MEDLINE, Embase, Science Citation Index Expanded, World Health Organization International Clinical Trials Registry Platform, and trials registers until November 2018 to identify randomised clinical trials on people with cirrhosis and SBP.

Selection Criteria: We included only randomised clinical trials (irrespective of language, blinding, or publication status) in adults with cirrhosis and SBP. We excluded randomised clinical trials in which participants had previously undergone liver transplantation.

Data Collection And Analysis: Two review authors independently identified eligible trials and collected data. The outcomes for this review included mortality, serious adverse events, any adverse events, resolution of SBP, liver transplantation, and other decompensation events. We performed a network meta-analysis with OpenBUGS using Bayesian methods and calculated the odds ratio, rate ratio, and hazard ratio with 95% credible intervals (CrIs) based on an available-case analysis, according to the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) Decision Support Unit guidance.

Main Results: We included a total of 12 trials (1278 participants; 13 antibiotics) in the review. Ten trials (893 participants) were included in one or more outcomes in the review. The trials that provided the information included patients having cirrhosis with or without other features of decompensation of varied aetiologies. The follow-up in the trials ranged from one week to three months. All the trials were at high risk of bias. Only one trial was included under each comparison for most of the outcomes. Because of these reasons, there is very low certainty in all the results. The majority of the randomised clinical trials used third-generation cephalosporins, such as intravenous ceftriaxone, cefotaxime, or ciprofloxacin as one of the interventions.Overall, approximately 75% of trial participants recovered from SBP and 25% of people died within three months. There was no evidence of difference in any of the outcomes for which network meta-analysis was possible: mortality (9 trials; 653 participants), proportion of people with any adverse events (5 trials; 297 participants), resolution of SBP (as per standard definition, 9 trials; 873 participants), or other features of decompensation (6 trials; 535 participants). The effect estimates in the direct comparisons (when available) were very similar to those of network meta-analysis. For the comparisons where network meta-analysis was not possible, there was no evidence of difference in any of the outcomes (proportion of participants with serious adverse events, number of adverse events, and proportion of participants requiring liver transplantation). Due to the wide CrIs and the very low-certainty evidence for all the outcomes, significant benefits or harms of antibiotics are possible.None of the trials reported health-related quality of life, number of serious adverse events, or symptomatic recovery from SBP.

Funding: the source of funding for two trials were industrial organisations who would benefit from the results of the trial; the source of funding for the remaining 10 trials was unclear.

Authors' Conclusions: Short-term mortality after SBP is about 25%. There is significant uncertainty about which antibiotic therapy is better in people with SBP.We need adequately powered randomised clinical trials, with adequate blinding, avoiding post-randomisation dropouts (or performing intention-to-treat analysis), and using clinically important outcomes, such as mortality, health-related quality of life, and adverse events.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD013120.pub2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6746213PMC
September 2019

Real-world comorbidities and treatment patterns among patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease receiving phosphatidylcholine as adjunctive therapy in Russia.

BMJ Open Gastroenterol 2019 18;6(1):e000307. Epub 2019 Aug 18.

Medical Affairs, Sanofi-Aventis SA, Moscow, Russia.

Objective: Previous research conducted in Russia showed that the number of patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and associated metabolic comorbidities is large. We conducted an observational study to describe the management of NAFLD in patients with metabolic syndrome in Russia.

Design: A total of 2843 adult patients from 174 medical sites across 6 federal districts of Russia with newly diagnosed NAFLD, who had at least one of four comorbidities, namely overweight/obesity, hypertension, type 2 diabetes mellitus, and hypercholesterolaemia, and who received phosphatidylcholine (PPC) as an adjunctive treatment to standard care, were enrolled during 2015-2016.

Results: Overall, 2263 patients (79.6%) had at least two metabolic comorbidities associated with NAFLD; overweight/obesity was the most common comorbidity reported in 2298 patients (80.8%). Simple steatosis was the most frequently identified clinical form of NAFLD, diagnosed in 2128 patients (74.9%). Among hypertensive patients, ACE inhibitors, statins, and sartans were most commonly prescribed. Biguanides were administered in more than half of diabetic patients. In patients with overweight/obesity and hypercholesterolaemia, statins were the most frequently prescribed medications. Almost all patients (2837/2843; 99.8%) were treated with 1.8 g of PPC three times per day. PPC therapy was associated with a 90.5% 6-month compliance rate, high treatment satisfaction, and a favourable safety profile. However, almost 15% of diabetic patients and 40% of overweight/obese patients received no further treatment.

Conclusions: In Russia, patients with newly diagnosed NAFLD represent a population heavily burdened by comorbidities, mainly overweight/obesity and hypercholesterolaemia. A significant part of these patients did not receive a comprehensive pharmacotherapy, highlighting the existing unmet need in the current management of NAFLD patients with metabolic syndrome in Russia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjgast-2019-000307DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6711446PMC
August 2019

Treatment for hepatorenal syndrome in people with decompensated liver cirrhosis: a network meta-analysis.

Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2019 09 12;9:CD013103. Epub 2019 Sep 12.

Division of Surgery and Interventional Science, University College London, Rowland Hill Street, London, UK, NW32PF.

Background: Hepatorenal syndrome is defined as renal failure in people with cirrhosis in the absence of other causes. In addition to supportive treatment such as albumin to restore fluid balance, the other potential treatments include systemic vasoconstrictor drugs (such as vasopressin analogues or noradrenaline), renal vasodilator drugs (such as dopamine), transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS), and liver support with molecular adsorbent recirculating system (MARS). There is uncertainty over the best treatment regimen for hepatorenal syndrome.

Objectives: To compare the benefits and harms of different treatments for hepatorenal syndrome in people with decompensated liver cirrhosis.

Search Methods: We searched CENTRAL, MEDLINE, Embase, Science Citation Index Expanded, World Health Organization International Clinical Trials Registry Platform, and trial registers until December 2018 to identify randomised clinical trials on hepatorenal syndrome in people with cirrhosis.

Selection Criteria: We included only randomised clinical trials (irrespective of language, blinding, or publication status) in adults with cirrhosis and hepatorenal syndrome. We excluded randomised clinical trials in which participants had previously undergone liver transplantation.

Data Collection And Analysis: Two authors independently identified eligible trials and collected data. The outcomes for this review included mortality, serious adverse events, any adverse events, resolution of hepatorenal syndrome, liver transplantation, and other decompensation events. We performed a network meta-analysis with OpenBUGS using Bayesian methods and calculated the odds ratio (OR), rate ratio, hazard ratio (HR), and mean difference (MD) with 95% credible intervals (CrI) based on an available-case analysis, according to National Institute of Health and Care Excellence Decision Support Unit guidance.

Main Results: We included a total of 25 trials (1263 participants; 12 interventions) in the review. Twenty-three trials (1185 participants) were included in one or more outcomes. All the trials were at high risk of bias, and all the evidence was of low or very low certainty. The trials included participants with liver cirrhosis of varied aetiologies as well as a mixture of type I hepatorenal syndrome only, type II hepatorenal syndrome only, or people with both type I and type II hepatorenal syndrome. Participant age ranged from 42 to 60 years, and the proportion of females ranged from 5.8% to 61.5% in the trials that reported this information. The follow-up in the trials ranged from one week to six months. Overall, 59% of participants died during this period and about 35% of participants recovered from hepatorenal syndrome. The most common interventions compared were albumin plus terlipressin, albumin plus noradrenaline, and albumin alone.There was no evidence of a difference in mortality (22 trials; 1153 participants) at maximal follow-up between the different interventions. None of the trials reported health-related quality of life. There was no evidence of differences in the proportion of people with serious adverse events (three trials; 428 participants), number of participants with serious adverse events per participant (two trials; 166 participants), proportion of participants with any adverse events (four trials; 402 participants), the proportion of people who underwent liver transplantation at maximal follow-up (four trials; 342 participants), or other features of decompensation at maximal follow-up (one trial; 466 participants). Five trials (293 participants) reported number of any adverse events, and five trials (219 participants) reported treatment costs. Albumin plus noradrenaline had fewer numbers of adverse events per participant (rate ratio 0.51, 95% CrI 0.28 to 0.87). Eighteen trials (1047 participants) reported recovery from hepatorenal syndrome (as per definition of hepatorenal syndrome). In terms of recovery from hepatorenal syndrome, in the direct comparisons, albumin plus midodrine plus octreotide and albumin plus octreotide had lower recovery from hepatorenal syndrome than albumin plus terlipressin (HR 0.04; 95% CrI 0.00 to 0.25 and HR 0.26, 95% CrI 0.07 to 0.80 respectively). There was no evidence of differences between the groups in any of the other direct comparisons. In the network meta-analysis, albumin and albumin plus midodrine plus octreotide had lower recovery from hepatorenal syndrome compared with albumin plus terlipressin.

Funding: two trials were funded by pharmaceutical companies; five trials were funded by parties who had no vested interest in the results of the trial; and 18 trials did not report the source of funding.

Authors' Conclusions: Based on very low-certainty evidence, there is no evidence of benefit or harm of any of the interventions for hepatorenal syndrome with regards to the following outcomes: all-cause mortality, serious adverse events (proportion), number of serious adverse events per participant, any adverse events (proportion), liver transplantation, or other decompensation events. Low-certainty evidence suggests that albumin plus noradrenaline had fewer 'any adverse events per participant' than albumin plus terlipressin. Low- or very low-certainty evidence also found that albumin plus midodrine plus octreotide and albumin alone had lower recovery from hepatorenal syndrome compared with albumin plus terlipressin.Future randomised clinical trials should be adequately powered; employ blinding, avoid post-randomisation dropouts or planned cross-overs (or perform an intention-to-treat analysis); and report clinically important outcomes such as mortality, health-related quality of life, adverse events, and recovery from hepatorenal syndrome. Albumin plus noradrenaline and albumin plus terlipressin appear to be the interventions that should be compared in future trials.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6740336PMC
September 2019

Glucocorticosteroids for people with alcoholic hepatitis.

Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2019 04 9;4:CD001511. Epub 2019 Apr 9.

Cochrane Hepato-Biliary Group, Copenhagen Trial Unit, Centre for Clinical Intervention Research, Department 7812, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen University Hospital, Blegdamsvej 9, Copenhagen, Denmark, DK-2100.

Background: Alcoholic hepatitis is a form of alcoholic liver disease characterised by steatosis, necroinflammation, fibrosis, and complications to the liver. Typically, alcoholic hepatitis presents in people between 40 and 50 years of age. Alcoholic hepatitis can be resolved if people abstain from drinking, but the risk of death will depend on the severity of the liver damage and abstinence from alcohol. Glucocorticosteroids have been studied extensively in randomised clinical trials to assess their benefits and harms. However, the results have been contradictory.

Objectives: To assess the benefits and harms of glucocorticosteroids in people with alcoholic hepatitis.

Search Methods: We identified trials through electronic searches in Cochrane Hepato-Biliary's (CHB) Controlled Trials Register, CENTRAL, MEDLINE, Embase, LILACS, and Science Citation Index Expanded. We looked for ongoing or unpublished trials in clinical trials registers and pharmaceutical company sources. We also scanned reference lists of the studies retrieved. The last search was 18 January 2019.

Selection Criteria: Randomised clinical trials assessing glucocorticosteroids versus placebo or no intervention in people with alcoholic hepatitis, irrespective of year, language of publication, or format. We considered trials with adults diagnosed with alcoholic hepatitis, which could have been established through clinical or biochemical diagnostic criteria or both. We defined alcoholic hepatitis as mild (Maddrey's score less than 32) and severe (Maddrey's score 32 or more). We allowed cointerventions in the trial groups, provided they were similar.

Data Collection And Analysis: We followed Cochrane methodology, performing the meta-analyses using Review Manager 5. We presented the results of dichotomous outcomes as risk ratios (RR) and of continuous outcomes as mean difference (MD), with 95% confidence intervals (CI). We used both the fixed-effect and the random-effects models for meta-analyses. Whenever there were significant discrepancies in the results, we reported the more conservative point estimate of the two. We considered a P value of 0.01 or less, two-tailed, as statistically significant if the required information size was reached for our three primary outcomes (all-cause mortality, health-related quality of life, and serious adverse events during treatment) and our post hoc decision to include analyses of mortality at more time points. We presented heterogeneity using the I² statistic. If trialists used intention-to-treat analysis to deal with missing data, we used these data in our primary analysis; otherwise, we used the available data. We assessed the bias risk of the trials using bias risk domains and the certainty of the evidence using GRADE.

Main Results: Sixteen trials fulfilled our inclusion criteria. All trials but one were at overall high risk of bias. Fifteen trials (one of which was an abstract) provided data for analysis (927 participants received glucocorticosteroids and 934 participants received placebo or no intervention). Glucocorticosteroids were administered orally or parenterally for a median 28 days (range 3 days to 12 weeks). The participants were between 25 and 70 years old, had different stages of alcoholic liver disease, and 65% were men. Follow-up, when reported, was up to the moment of discharge from the hospital, until they died (median of 63 days), or for at least one year. There was no evidence of effect of glucocorticosteroids on all-cause mortality up to three months following randomisation (random-effects RR 0.90, 95% CI 0.70 to 1.15; participants = 1861; trials = 15; very low-certainty evidence) or on health-related quality of life up to three months, measured with the European Quality of Life - 5 Dimensions - 3 Levels scale (MD -0.04 points, 95% CI -0.11 to 0.03; participants = 377; trial = 1; low-certainty evidence). There was no evidence of effect on the occurrence of serious adverse events during treatment (random-effects RR 1.05, 95% CI 0.85 to 1.29; participants = 1861; trials = 15; very low-certainty evidence), liver-related mortality up to three months following randomisation (random-effects RR 0.89, 95% CI 0.69 to 1.14; participants = 1861; trials = 15; very low-certainty evidence), number of participants with any complications up to three months following randomisation (random-effects RR 1.04, 95% CI 0.86 to 1.27; participants = 1861; very low-certainty evidence), and number of participants of non-serious adverse events up to three months' follow-up after end of treatment (random-effects RR 1.99, 95% CI 0.72 to 5.48; participants = 160; trials = 4; very low-certainty evidence). Based on the information that we collected from the published trial reports, only one of the trials seems not to be industry-funded, and the remaining 15 trials did not report clearly whether they were partly or completely funded by the industry.

Authors' Conclusions: We are very uncertain about the effect estimate of no difference between glucocorticosteroids and placebo or no intervention on all-cause mortality and serious adverse events during treatment because the certainty of evidence was very low, and low for health-related quality of life. Due to inadequate reporting, we cannot exclude increases in adverse events. As the CIs were wide, we cannot rule out significant benefits or harms of glucocorticosteroids. Therefore, we need placebo-controlled randomised clinical trials, designed according to the SPIRIT guidelines and reported according to the CONSORT guidelines. Future trials ought to report depersonalised individual participant data, so that proper individual participant data meta-analyses of the effects of glucocorticosteroids in subgroups can be conducted.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6455893PMC
April 2019

Clinical validation of the "7 × 7" questionnaire for patients with functional gastrointestinal disorders.

J Gastroenterol Hepatol 2019 Jun 25;34(6):1042-1048. Epub 2018 Dec 25.

V.H. Vasilenko Clinic of Internal Diseases, Propedeutics, Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Sechenov University, Moscow, Russia.

Background And Aim: Physicians use different scales and questionnaires to assess the severity of clinical symptoms in patients with functional gastrointestinal disorders. The current study aimed to validate the "7 × 7" questionnaire for assessment of severity of the symptoms as a tool for the efficacy of treatment of functional gastrointestinal disorders, using the Clinical Global Impressions scale as the reference standard.

Methods: Fifty inpatients aged from 18 to 64 with a confirmed diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome (26 patients, 52%), functional dyspepsia (15 patients, 30%), or both (9 patients, 18%) were prospectively enrolled in the study. We used both the 7 × 7 questionnaire and the Clinical Global Impressions scale before and after 28 days of stable treatment.

Results: Our study revealed a significant correlation between the 7 × 7 questionnaire and the Clinical Global Impressions scale results in assessment of severity of the clinical symptoms and their dynamics during treatment. The 7 × 7 questionnaire showed sensitivity of 74.5% and specificity of 54.1% for evaluating patients with mild to severe disease and 66.6% and 76%, respectively, for evaluating patients with moderate to severe disease. The Cronbach's alpha coefficient was 0.719. The intraclass correlation coefficient among participants in whom the condition remained the same was 0.973 (12 participants [24.5%]).

Conclusions: The 7 × 7 questionnaire is a convenient, sensitive, and reliable tool for assessing the severity of symptoms and treatment efficacy in people with functional gastrointestinal disorders.
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June 2019

Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth in cirrhosis: systematic review and meta-analysis.

Hepatol Int 2018 Nov 4;12(6):567-576. Epub 2018 Oct 4.

Sechenov University, Pogodinskaya Str., 1, bld. 1, 119435, Moscow, Russian Federation.

Background: Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) was detected in cirrhosis in many studies. The aim is to perform a systematic review and meta-analysis on the prevalence of SIBO in cirrhosis and on the relationship of SIBO with features of cirrhosis.

Methods: PUBMED search (until 14 January 2018) was performed. Specific search terms were: '(cirrhosis) AND (SIBO OR bacterial overgrowth)'. Studies not relating to cirrhosis or SIBO, animal studies, and non-original articles were excluded. A meta-analysis of all studies was performed using a random-effects model.

Results: 117 references were identified by the PUBMED search. 3 references were added after handsearching the reference lists of all the articles. 99 references were excluded. 21 studies (included in total 1264 cirrhotics and 306 controls) remained for qualitative analysis and quantitative synthesis. Prevalence of SIBO for cirrhosis was 40.8% (95% CI 34.8-47.1), while the prevalence of SIBO for controls was 10.7% (95% CI 5.7-19.0). OR 6.83 (95% CI 4.16-11.21; p < 0.001). Prevalence of SIBO for decompensated cirrhosis was higher than prevalence of SIBO for compensated cirrhosis (50.5% vs. 31.2%; p < 0.001). SIBO in cirrhosis was associated with ascites (p < 0.001), minimal hepatic encephalopathy (p = 0.001), bacterial translocation (p = 0.026), spontaneous bacterial peritonitis (p = 0.008), prolonged orocecal transit time (p < 0.001), and was not associated with hypocoagulation. Further studies are required to clarify the relationship of SIBO with hyperbilirubinemia, hypoalbuminemia, overt hepatic encephalopathy in past, esophageal varices and systemic inflammation.

Conclusion: Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth is more often detected in cirrhosis than in healthy persons and is associated with some features of cirrhosis.
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November 2018

Glucocorticosteroids for people with alcoholic hepatitis.

Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2017 11 2;11:CD001511. Epub 2017 Nov 2.

The Cochrane Hepato-Biliary Group, Copenhagen Trial Unit, Centre for Clinical Intervention Research, Department 7812, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen University Hospital, Blegdamsvej 9, Copenhagen, Denmark, DK-2100.

Background: Alcoholic hepatitis is a form of alcoholic liver disease, characterised by steatosis, necroinflammation, fibrosis, and potential complications to the liver disease. Typically, alcoholic hepatitis presents in people between 40 and 50 years of age. Alcoholic hepatitis can be resolved if people abstain from drinking, but the risk of death will depend on the severity of the liver damage and abstinence from alcohol. Glucocorticosteroids are used as anti-inflammatory drugs for people with alcoholic hepatitis. Glucocorticosteroids have been studied extensively in randomised clinical trials in order to assess their benefits and harms. However, the results have been contradictory.

Objectives: To assess the benefits and harms of glucocorticosteroids in people with alcoholic hepatitis.

Search Methods: We identified trials through electronic searches in Cochrane Hepato-Biliary's (CHB) Controlled Trials Register, CENTRAL, MEDLINE, Embase, LILACS, and Science Citation Index Expanded. We looked for ongoing or unpublished trials in clinical trials registers and pharmaceutical company sources. We also scanned reference lists of the studies retrieved. The last search was 20 October 2016.

Selection Criteria: Randomised clinical trials assessing glucocorticosteroids versus placebo or no intervention in people with alcoholic hepatitis, irrespective of year, language of publication, or format. We considered trials with adult participants diagnosed with alcoholic hepatitis, which could have been established through clinical or biochemical diagnostic criteria or both. We defined alcoholic hepatitis as mild (Maddrey's score less than 32) and severe (Maddrey's score 32 or more). We allowed co-interventions in the trial groups, provided they were similar.

Data Collection And Analysis: We followed Cochrane and CHB methodology, performing the meta-analyses using Review Manager 5 and Trial Sequential Analysis. We presented the results of dichotomous outcomes as risk ratios (RR) and those of the continuous outcomes as mean difference (MD). We applied both the fixed-effect model and the random-effects model meta-analyses. Whenever there were significant discrepancies in the results, we reported the more conservative point estimate of the two. We considered a P value of 0.01 or less, two-tailed, as statistically significant if the required information size was reached due to our three primary outcomes (all-cause mortality, health-related quality of life, and serious adverse events during treatment) and our post hoc decision to include analyses of mortality at more time points. We presented heterogeneity using the I² statistic. If trialists used intention-to-treat analysis to deal with missing data, we used these data in our primary analysis; otherwise, we used the available data. We assessed the bias risk of the trials using bias risk domains and the quality of the evidence using GRADE.

Main Results: Sixteen trials fulfilled the inclusion criteria. All trials were at high risk of bias. Fifteen trials provided data for analysis (927 participants received glucocorticosteroids and 934 participants received placebo or no intervention). The glucocorticosteroids were administered orally or parenterally for a median of 28 days (range 3 days to 12 weeks). The participants were between 25 and 70 years old, had different stages of alcoholic liver disease, and 65% were men. The follow-up of trial participants, when it was reported, was up to the moment of discharge from the hospital, until they died (a median of 63 days), or for at least a year. There was no evidence of effect of glucocorticosteroids on all-cause mortality up to three months following randomisation neither with traditional meta-analysis (random-effects RR 0.90, 95% CI 0.70 to 1.15; participants = 1861; trials = 15; I² = 45% (moderate heterogeneity) nor with Trial Sequential Analysis. Meta-analysis showed no evidence of effect on health-related quality of life up to three months (MD -0.04 points; 95% CI -0.11 to 0.03; participants = 377; trial = 1; low-quality evidence), measured with the European Quality of Life - 5 Dimensions-3 Levels (EQ- 5D-3L) scale. There was no evidence of effect on the occurrence of serious adverse events during treatment, neither with traditional meta-analysis (random-effects RR 1.05, 95% CI 0.85 to 1.29; participants = 1861; trials = 15; I² = 36% (moderate heterogeneity), liver-related mortality up to three months following randomisation (random-effects RR 0.89, 95% CI 0.69 to 1.14; participants = 1861; trials = 15; I² = 46% (moderate heterogeneity), frequency of any complications up to three months following randomisation (random-effects RR 1.04, 95% CI 0.86 to 1.27; participants = 1861; I² = 42% (moderate heterogeneity), and frequency of non-serious adverse events up to three months' follow-up after end of treatment (random-effects RR 1.99, 95% CI 0.72 to 5.48; participants = 160; trials = 4; I² = 0% (no heterogeneity) nor with Trial Sequential Analysis. Nine of the trials were industry-funded.

Authors' Conclusions: We found no evidence of a difference between glucocorticosteroids and placebo or no intervention on all-cause mortality, health-related quality of life, and serious adverse events during treatment. The risk of bias was high and the quality of evidence was very low or low. Therefore, we are very uncertain about this effect estimate. Due to inadequate reporting, we cannot exclude increases in adverse events. As the confidence intervals were wide, we cannot rule out significant benefits and harms of glucocorticosteroids. Therefore, we need placebo-controlled, randomised clinical trials, designed according to the SPIRIT guidelines and reported according to the CONSORT guidelines. Future trials ought to report depersonalised individual participant data, so that proper individual participant data meta-analyses of the effects of glucocorticosteroids in subgroups can be conducted.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6491283PMC
November 2017

Prednisolone plus S-adenosil-L-methionine in severe alcoholic hepatitis.

Hepatol Int 2016 Nov 23;10(6):983-987. Epub 2016 Jun 23.

I.M. Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University, Moscow, Russian Federation.

Purpose/background: Severe alcoholic hepatitis (AH) is a life-threatening liver disease with a potential of 30-40 % mortality at 1 month. While steroids remain to be a first line therapy, they provide only about 50 % survival benefit. The aim of the study was to evaluate the efficacy of glucocorticoids plus S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe), as compared to glucocorticoids alone, in patients with severe alcoholic hepatitis.

Methods: Forty patients with severe AH were randomized in two groups and enrolled in the prospective trial. Group 1 (n = 20) patients received prednisolone 40 mg/daily per os, and group 2 (n = 20) patients were managed with prednisolone 40 mg/daily per os plus SAMe 800 mg i.v.

Treatment: Duration was 28 days.

Results: The response rate assessed by Lille model was significantly higher in the prednisolone plus SAMe group (19 of 20; 95 %) than in the prednisolone group (13 of 20; 65 %), p = 0.044. Two (10 %) patients died, both from the prednisolone group. There were no lethal outcomes in the prednisolone plus SAMe group. The Kaplan-Meier method showed no significant differences between the two groups (p = 0.151, log-rank). Hepatorenal syndrome (HRS) occurred in 20 % in the prednisolone group (4 of 20 patients) while no HRS cases were registered in the prednisolone plus SAMe group (p = 0.035).

Conclusions: Management of severe alcoholic hepatitis with prednisolone plus SAMe was associated with better therapy response (p = 0.044) and less frequent HRS occurrence (p = 0.035). Mortality was not significantly lower in the prednisolone-SAMe group than in the prednisolone-only group at 28 days (10 vs. 0 %, p = 0.151).
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November 2016

Ultrasonography for diagnosis of alcoholic cirrhosis in people with alcoholic liver disease.

Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2016 Mar 2;3:CD011602. Epub 2016 Mar 2.

The Cochrane Hepato-Biliary Group, Copenhagen Trial Unit, Centre for Clinical Intervention Research, Department 7812, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen University Hospital, Blegdamsvej 9, Copenhagen, Denmark, DK-2100.

Background: Heavy alcohol consumption causes alcoholic liver disease and is a causal factor of many types of liver injuries and concomitant diseases. It is a true systemic disease that may damage the digestive tract, the nervous system, the heart and vascular system, the bone and skeletal muscle system, and the endocrine and immune system, and can lead to cancer. Liver damage in turn, can present as multiple alcoholic liver diseases, including fatty liver, steatohepatitis, fibrosis, alcoholic cirrhosis, and hepatocellular carcinoma, with presence or absence of hepatitis B or C virus infection. There are three scarring types (fibrosis) that are most commonly found in alcoholic liver disease: centrilobular scarring, pericellular fibrosis, and periportal fibrosis. When liver fibrosis progresses, alcoholic cirrhosis occurs. Hepatocellular carcinoma occurs in 5% to 15% of people with alcoholic cirrhosis, but people in whom hepatocellular carcinoma has developed are often co-infected with hepatitis B or C virus.Abstinence from alcohol may help people with alcoholic disease in improving their prognosis of survival at any stage of their disease; however, the more advanced the stage, the higher the risk of complications, co-morbidities, and mortality, and lesser the effect of abstinence. Being abstinent one month after diagnosis of early cirrhosis will improve the chance of a seven-year life expectancy by 1.6 times. Liver transplantation is the only radical method that may change the prognosis of a person with alcoholic liver disease; however, besides the difficulties of finding a suitable liver transplant organ, there are many other factors that may influence a person's survival.Ultrasound is an inexpensive method that has been used for years in clinical practice to diagnose alcoholic cirrhosis. Ultrasound parameters for assessing cirrhosis in people with alcoholic liver disease encompass among others liver size, bluntness of the liver edge, coarseness of the liver parenchyma, nodularity of the liver surface, size of the lymph nodes around the hepatic artery, irregularity and narrowness of the inferior vena cava, portal vein velocity, and spleen size.Diagnosis of cirrhosis by ultrasound, especially in people who are asymptomatic, may have its advantages for the prognosis, motivation, and treatment of these people to decrease their alcohol consumption or become abstinent.Timely diagnosis of alcoholic cirrhosis in people with alcoholic liver disease is the cornerstone for evaluation of prognosis or choosing treatment strategies.

Objectives: To determine the diagnostic accuracy of ultrasonography for detecting the presence or absence of cirrhosis in people with alcoholic liver disease compared with liver biopsy as reference standard.To determine the diagnostic accuracy of any of the ultrasonography tests, B-mode or echo-colour Doppler ultrasonography, used singly or combined, or plus ultrasonography signs, or a combination of these, for detecting hepatic cirrhosis in people with alcoholic liver disease compared with liver biopsy as a reference standard, irrespective of sequence.

Search Methods: We performed searches in The Cochrane Hepato-Biliary Group Controlled Trials Register, The Cochrane Hepato-Biliary Group Diagnostic Test Accuracy Studies Register, The Cochrane Library (Wiley), MEDLINE (OvidSP), EMBASE (OvidSP), and the Science Citation Index Expanded to 8 January 2015. We applied no language limitations.We screened study references of the retrieved studies to identify other potentially relevant studies for inclusion in the review and read abstract and poster publications.

Selection Criteria: Three review authors independently identified studies for possible inclusion in the review. We excluded references not fulfilling the inclusion criteria of the review protocol. We sent e-mails to study authors.The included studies had to evaluate ultrasound in the diagnosis of hepatic cirrhosis using only liver biopsy as the reference standard.The maximum time interval of investigation with liver biopsy and ultrasonography should not have exceeded six months. In addition, ultrasonography could have been performed before or after liver biopsy.

Data Collection And Analysis: We followed the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Diagnostic Test Accuracy.

Main Results: The review included two studies that provided numerical data regarding alcoholic cirrhosis in 205 men and women with alcoholic liver disease. Although there were no applicability concerns in terms of participant selection, index text, and reference standard, we judged the two studies at high risk of bias. Participants in both studies had undergone both liver biopsy and ultrasonography investigations. The studies shared only a few comparable clinical signs and symptoms (index tests).We decided to not perform a meta-analysis due to the high risk of bias and the high degree of heterogeneity of the included studies.

Authors' Conclusions: As the accuracy of ultrasonography in the two included studies was not informative enough, we could not recommend the use of ultrasonography as a diagnostic tool for liver cirrhosis in people with alcoholic liver disease. In order to be able to answer the review questions, we need diagnostic ultrasonography prospective studies of adequate sample size, enrolling only participants with alcoholic liver disease.The design and report of the studies should follow the Standards for Reporting of Diagnostic Accuracy. The sonographic features, with validated cut-offs, which may help identify clinical signs used for diagnosis of fibrosis in alcoholic liver disease, should be carefully selected to achieve maximum diagnostic accuracy on ultrasonography.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6464787PMC
March 2016

Transient elastography for diagnosis of stages of hepatic fibrosis and cirrhosis in people with alcoholic liver disease.

Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2015 Jan 22;1:CD010542. Epub 2015 Jan 22.

The Cochrane Hepato-Biliary Group, Copenhagen Trial Unit, Centre for Clinical Intervention Research, Department 7812, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen University Hospital, Blegdamsvej 9, Copenhagen, Denmark, DK-2100.

Background: The presence and progression of hepatic (liver) fibrosis into cirrhosis is a prognostic variable having impact on survival in people with alcoholic liver disease. Liver biopsy, although an invasive method, is the recommended 'reference standard' for diagnosis and staging of hepatic fibrosis in people with liver diseases. Transient elastography is a non-invasive method for assessing and staging hepatic fibrosis.

Objectives: To determine the diagnostic accuracy of transient elastography for diagnosis and staging hepatic fibrosis in people with alcoholic liver disease when compared with liver biopsy. To identify the optimal cut-off values for differentiating the five stages of hepatic fibrosis.

Search Methods: The Cochrane Hepato-Biliary Group Controlled and Diagnostic Test Accuracy Studies Registers, The Cochrane Library, MEDLINE (OvidSP), EMBASE (OvidSP), and the Science Citation Index Expanded (last search August 2014).

Selection Criteria: Diagnostic cohort and diagnostic case-control study designs that assessed hepatic fibrosis in participants with alcoholic liver disease with transient elastography and liver biopsy, irrespective of language or publication status. The study participants could be of any sex and ethnic origin, above 16 years old, hospitalised or managed as outpatients. We excluded participants with viral hepatitis, autoimmunity, metabolic diseases, and toxins.

Data Collection And Analysis: We followed the guidelines in the draft Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Diagnostic Test Accuracy.

Main Results: Five retrospective and nine prospective cohort studies with 834 participants provided data for the review analyses. Authors of seven of those studies sent us individual participant data. The risk of bias in the included studies was high in all but three studies. We could identify no serious concerns regarding the applicability of the studies in answering the main study question of our review, namely to use transient elastography to diagnose hepatic fibrosis. We could not identify the optimal cut-off values for the fibrosis stages. The definition of the diagnosis of alcoholic liver disease was not provided in one study and was not clearly defined in two studies, but it was clear in the remaining 11 studies. The study authors used different liver stiffness cut-off values of transient elastography for the hepatic fibrosis stages.There was only one study (103 participants) with data on hepatic fibrosis stage F1 or worse, with a cut-off of 5.9 kPa, and reporting sensitivity of 0.83 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.74 to 0.90) and specificity of 0.88 (95% CI 0.47 to 1.00). The summary sensitivity and specificity of transient elastography for F2 or worse (seven studies with 338 participants and with cut-offs around 7.5 kPa (range 7.00 to 7.8 kPa)) were 0.94 and 0.89 with LR+ 8.2 and LR- 0.07, which suggests that transient elastography could be useful to rule out the presence of significant hepatic fibrosis, thus avoiding liver biopsy.Due to the wide range of cut-off values (from 8.0 to 17.0 kPa) found in the 10 studies with 760 participants with hepatic fibrosis F3 or worse, we fitted a hierarchical summary receiver operating characteristic (HSROC) model and estimated a summary ROC (SROC) curve. The sensitivity of the 10 studies varied from 72% to 100% and the specificity from 59% to 89%. We performed an additional analysis by including the studies with a cut-off value of around and equal to 9.5 kPa (range 8.0 to 11.0 kPa). The summary sensitivity and specificity of transient elastography (eight studies with 564 participants) were 0.92 and 0.70 with LR+ 3.1 and LR- 0.11, which suggests that transient elastography could also be useful to rule out the presence of severe hepatic fibrosis (F3 or worse), avoiding liver biopsy. We carried out a sensitivity analysis by considering only the studies with a cut-off value equal to 9.5 kPa and the result did not differ.We performed an HSROC analysis and reported an SROC curve for hepatic fibrosis stage F4 (cirrhosis). The HSROC analysis suggested that when the cut-off value changes, there is a wide variation in specificity and a more limited variation in sensitivity. We performed an additional analysis with the studies with the most commonly used cut-off value of 12.5 kPa. The summary sensitivity and specificity of transient elastography (seven studies with 330 participants) were 0.95 and 0.71 with LR+ 3.3 and LR- 0.07, which again suggests that transient elastography could be useful to rule out the presence of cirrhosis, avoiding liver biopsy.

Authors' Conclusions: We identified a small number of studies with a few participants and were unable to include several studies, which raises the risk of outcome reporting bias. With these caveats in mind, transient elastography may be used as a diagnostic method to rule out liver cirrhosis (F4) in people with alcoholic liver disease when the pre-test probability is about 51% (range 15% to 79%). Transient elastography may also help in ruling out severe fibrosis (F3 or worse). Liver biopsy investigation remains an option if the certainty to rule in or rule out the stage of hepatic fibrosis or cirrhosis remains insufficient after a clinical follow-up or any other non-invasive test considered useful by the clinician.The proposed cut-off values for the different stages of hepatic fibrosis may be used in clinical practice, but caution is needed, as those values reported in this review are only the most common cut-off values used by the study authors. The best cut-off values for hepatic fibrosis in people with alcoholic liver disease could not be established yet.In order to diagnose correctly the stage of hepatic fibrosis in people with alcoholic liver disease using transient elastography assessment, the studies should consider a single aetiology. Hepatic fibrosis should be diagnosed with both transient elastography and liver biopsy and in this sequence, and transient elastography cut-off values should be pre-specified and validated. The time interval between the two investigations should not exceed three months, which is the interval mainly valid for people without cirrhosis, and assessment of results should be properly blinded. Only studies with low risk of bias, fulfilling the Standards for Reporting of Diagnostic Accuracy may answer the review question.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7081746PMC
January 2015
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