Publications by authors named "Mattias Mandorfer"

143 Publications

VWF-response to NSBB-therapy - worth to re-read!

Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2021 Sep 3. Epub 2021 Sep 3.

Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Internal Medicine III, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria; Vienna Hepatic Hemodynamic Lab.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cgh.2021.08.043DOI Listing
September 2021

This Letter to the Editor is in response to: 'Non-hemodynamic effects of beta-blockers in decompensated cirrhosis: In search of an ideal marker?'/corresponding author Sanchit SHARMA, M.D. D.M./CGH-01733.

Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2021 Aug 25. Epub 2021 Aug 25.

Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Internal Medicine III, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria; Vienna Hepatic Hemodynamic Lab, Vienna, Austria.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cgh.2021.08.028DOI Listing
August 2021

COVID-19 pandemic: Impact on the management of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma at a tertiary care hospital.

PLoS One 2021 26;16(8):e0256544. Epub 2021 Aug 26.

Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Internal Medicine III, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.

Background: Patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) represent a vulnerable population potentially negatively affected by COVID-19-associated reallocation of healthcare resources. Here, we report the impact of COVID-19 on the management of HCC patients in a large tertiary care hospital.

Methods: We retrospectively analyzed clinical data of HCC patients who presented at the Vienna General Hospital, between 01/DEC/2019 and 30/JUN/2020. We compared patient care before (period 1) and after (period 2) implementation of COVID-19-associated healthcare restrictions on 16/MAR/2020.

Results: Of 126 patients, majority was male (n = 104, 83%) with a mean age of 66±11 years. Half of patients (n = 57, 45%) had impaired liver function (Child-Pugh stage B/C) and 91 (72%) had intermediate-advanced stage HCC (BCLC B-D). New treatment, was initiated in 68 (54%) patients. Number of new HCC diagnoses did not differ between the two periods (n = 14 vs. 14). While personal visits were reduced, an increase in teleconsultation was observed (period 2). Number of patients with visit delays (n = 31 (30%) vs. n = 10 (10%); p = 0.001) and imaging delays (n = 25 (25%) vs. n = 7 (7%); p = 0.001) was higher in period 2. Accordingly, a reduced number of patients was discussed in interdisciplinary tumor boards (lowest number in April (n = 24), compared to a median number of 57 patients during period 1). Median number of elective/non-elective admissions was not different between the periods. One patient contracted COVID-19 with lethal outcome.

Conclusions: Changes in patient care included reduced personal contacts but increased telephone visits, and delays in diagnostic procedures. The effects on long-term outcome need to be determined.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0256544PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8389415PMC
September 2021

Epidemiological trends of HBV and HDV coinfection among Viennese HIV+ patients.

Liver Int 2021 Jul 16. Epub 2021 Jul 16.

Division of Gastroenterology & Hepatology, Department of Internal Medicine III, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.

Background And Aims: Despite vaccination recommendations, hepatitis B (HBV) and D (HDV) coinfections are common in HIV+individuals.

Methods: HBV immunization status (anti-HBs) as well as HBV (HBsAg/HBV-DNA) and HDV (anti-HDV) coinfection rates were assessed in 1870 HIV+individuals at HIV diagnosis (baseline, BL) and last follow-up (FU).

Results: Sixty-eight (3.6%) HIV patients were never tested for HBV. At BL, 89/1802 (4.9%) HIV patients were HBV coinfected. Four hundred and fifteen (23.0%) showed virological HBV clearance [HBsAg(-)/anti-HBc(+)/anti-HBs(+)] and 210 (11.7%) presented with anti-HBc(+) only. Seven hundred and ten (39.4%) were HBV naïve [HBsAg(-)/anti-HBs(-)/anti-HBc(-)/HBV-DNA(-)], but only 378 (21.0%) received vaccinations with detectable anti-HBs(+) titres. Among the 89 HBV/HIV-coinfected patients, only 52 (58.4%) were tested for HDV: 11/49 (22.4%) had anti-HDV(+) and 3/12 (25.0%) showed HDV-RNA viraemia. During a median FU of 6.5 (IQR 7.2) years, 44 (4.6%) of the 953 retested BL HBV-negative patients acquired new HBV infection (including 15/304, 4.9% of vaccinated patients). Of the 89 patients, 22 (24.7%) patients cleared their HBsAg, resulting in 60/1625 (3.7%) HIV/HBV individuals at FU: 34 (56.7%) showed HBV-DNA suppression and 15 (25.0%) were HBV viraemic, while 12/89 (13.5%) remained without a FU test. Vaccinations induced anti-HBs(+) in 137 of the retested 649 (21.1%) BL HBV-naïve patients.

Conclusion: HBV testing is well established among Viennese HIV+patients with HBV coinfection rates around 4%-5%. HBV vaccinations are insufficiently implemented since anti-HBs titres were detected in only 21.1% of HBV-naive HIV(+) patients and new HBV infections occurred in previously vaccinated patients. HDV testing is not systematically performed despite up to 25% of HIV/HBV patients may show HDV coinfection.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/liv.15018DOI Listing
July 2021

Decreasing von Willebrand Factor Levels Upon Nonselective Beta Blocker Therapy Indicate a Decreased Risk of Further Decompensation, Acute-on-chronic Liver Failure, and Death.

Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2021 Jul 10. Epub 2021 Jul 10.

Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Internal Medicine III, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria; Vienna Hepatic Hemodynamic Laboratory, Vienna, Austria; Christian Doppler Laboratory for Portal Hypertension and Liver Fibrosis, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.

Background & Aims: Nonselective beta blockers (NSBBs) exert beneficial effects beyond lowering hepatic venous pressure gradient (HVPG), which may be particularly relevant in patients with decompensated cirrhosis (DC), in whom bacterial translocation and bacterial-induced systemic inflammation drive the development of complications such as acute-on-chronic liver failure (ACLF). We evaluated whether NSBB-related changes in von Willebrand factor (VWF) may serve as a biomarker for these effects.

Methods: In this retrospective analysis, 159 prospectively characterized patients with clinically stable DC (ie, without acute decompensation) who underwent paired HVPG/VWF assessments before/on NSBB therapy were classified as 'VWF responders' (as defined by a ≥5% decrease in VWF) versus 'VWF nonresponders.'

Results: There were no major differences in baseline characteristics between VWF responders (61%) and VWF nonresponders. VWF responders showed more pronounced decreases in inflammation (procalcitonin), whereas rates of HVPG response were similar. In line, NSBB-related changes in VWF correlated with the dynamics of bacterial translocation/inflammation (lipopolysaccharide-binding protein, C-reactive protein, and procalcitonin), rather than those of HVPG. Interestingly, VWF responders also showed less pronounced NSBB-related decreases in mean arterial pressure, suggesting an amelioration of systemic vasodilatation. Finally, VWF response was associated with decreased risks of further decompensation (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR], 0.555; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.337-0.912; P = .020), ACLF (aHR, 0.302; 95% CI, 0.126-0.721; P = .007), and liver-related death (aHR, 0.332; 95% CI, 0.179-0.616; P < .001) in Cox regression models adjusted for prognostic factors including changes in HVPG.

Conclusions: Decreases in VWF upon NSBB therapy reflect their anti-inflammatory activity, are accompanied by less pronounced adverse effects on systemic hemodynamics, and are independently associated with a decreased risk of further decompensation, ACLF, and death. VWF response may discriminate between decompensated patients who benefit from NSBB treatment and have a favorable prognosis versus patients with poor outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cgh.2021.07.012DOI Listing
July 2021

Risk of non-tumoural portal vein thrombosis in patients with HCV-induced cirrhosis after sustained virological response.

Liver Int 2021 Jul 9. Epub 2021 Jul 9.

Barcelona Hepatic Hemodynamic Lab, Liver Unit, Hospital Clínic, University of Barcelona, Institut d'Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi i Sunyer (IDIBAPS), Health Care Provider of the European Reference Network on Rare Liver Disorders (ERN-Liver), Barcelona, Spain.

Background & Aims: Sustained virological response (SVR) to direct-acting antivirals ameliorates portal hypertension, improves hepatic function and may reverse the procoagulant state observed in patients with cirrhosis. However, an unexpected incidence of portal vein thrombosis (PVT) immediately after antiviral therapy has recently been reported. Therefore, we analysed the long-term impact of SVR on the development of non-tumoural PVT.

Methods: Our study comprised of two well-characterized prospective cohorts (hepatitis C virus '(HCV)-Cured': n = 354/'HCV-Active': n = 179) of patients with HCV cirrhosis who underwent standardized ultrasound surveillance. In the main analysis, the event of interest was de novo non-tumoural PVT and events known to modify its natural history (orthotopic liver transplantation, transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt, death, tumoural PVT and anticoagulation) were considered as competing risk. Adjusted models were built using propensity scores for baseline covariates. Moreover, predictive factors were investigated by conventional multivariate analysis.

Results: Ten (2.8%) patients in the 'HCV-Cured' cohort developed a non-tumoural PVT during a median follow-up of 37.1 months, while 8 (4.5%) patients in the 'HCV-Active' cohort were diagnosed with non-tumoural PVT during a median follow-up of 42.2 months. High Child-Pugh score was the only independent risk factor for non-tumoural PVT development and stage A patients were at low risk. Importantly, HCV cure did not decrease the risk of non-tumoural PVT in inverse probability of treatment-weighted (IPTW) analysis (subdistribution hazard ratio: 1.31 (95% confidence interval [95% CI]: 0.43-3.97); P = .635). In contrast, SVR was associated with a substantial reduction in mortality (IPTW-adjusted sHR: 0.453 [95% CI: 0.287-0.715]; P < .001).

Conclusions: The risk of non-tumoural PVT persists after HCV cure in patients with cirrhosis, despite improving survival. Even after aetiological cure, severity of liver disease remains the main determinant of non-tumoural PVT development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/liv.15009DOI Listing
July 2021

COVID-19-related downscaling of in-hospital liver care decreased patient satisfaction and increased liver-related mortality.

Hepatol Commun 2021 May 18. Epub 2021 May 18.

Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology Department of Medicine III Medical University of Vienna Vienna Austria.

Background&aims: The COVID-19 pandemic necessitated down-scaling of in-hospital care to prohibit the spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus-2(SARS-CoV-2). We (i)assessed patient perceptions on quality of care by tele-survey(cohort 1) and written questionnaire(cohort 2) and (ii)analyzed trends in elective and non-elective admissions prior to (12/2019-02/2020) and during (03/2020-05/2020) the COVID-19 pandemic in Austria.

Methods: Two-hundred seventy-nine outpatients were recruited into cohort 1 and 138 patients into cohort 2. All admissions from 12/2019 to 05/2020 to the Division of Gastroenterology/Hepatology at the Vienna General Hospital were analyzed.

Results: Thirty-two point six percent (n=91/279) of cohort 1 and 72.5%(n=95/131) of cohort 2 had tele-medical contact, while 59.5%(n=166/279)and 68.2%(n=90/132) had face-to-face visits. 24.1%(n=32/133) needed acute medical help during healthcare restrictions, however, 57.3%(n=51/89) reported that contacting their physician during COVID-19 was difficult or impossible. Patient-reported satisfaction with treatment decreased significantly during restrictions in cohort 1 (visual analog scale[VAS] 0-10:9.0±1.6 to8.6±2.2;p<0.001) and non-significantly in cohort 2 (VAS0-10:8.9±1.6 to8.7±2.1;p=0.182).Despite fewer hospital admissions during COVID-19, the proportion of non-elective admissions (+6.3%) and ICU-admissions (+6.7%) increased. Cirrhotic patients with non-elective admissions during COVID-19 had significantly higher MELD (25.5[14.2]vs.17.0[IQR:8.8]; p=0.003) and ΔMELD(difference to last MELD;3.9±6.3vs.8.7±6.4;p=0.008), required immediate intensive care more frequently (26.7%vs.5.6%;p=0.034) and had significantly increased 30-day liver-related mortality (30.0%vs.8.3%;p=0.028).

Conclusions: The COVID-19 pandemic impacts on quality of liver care as evident from decreased patient satisfaction, hospitalization of sicker ACLD patients and increased liver-related mortality. Strategies for improved tele-medical liver care and preemptive treatment of cirrhosis-related complications are needed to counteract the COVID-19-associated restrictions of in-hospital care.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hep4.1758DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8239672PMC
May 2021

Outcomes of an HCV elimination program targeting the Viennese MSM population.

Wien Klin Wochenschr 2021 Jul 28;133(13-14):635-640. Epub 2021 Jun 28.

Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Medicine III, Medical University of Vienna, Währinger Gürtel 18-20, 1090, Vienna, Austria.

Background And Aims: Recent reports suggest an increasing incidence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections among MSM (men-who-have-sex-with-men). Early treatment with direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) achieves high cure rates and prevents further HCV transmission. We offered barrier-free HCV screening in the Viennese MSM population and immediate access to DAA treatment.

Methods: In collaboration with gay health specialists, we screened for HCV seropositivity in Viennese MSM between 2019 and 2020. Barrier-free HCV-RNA-PCR tests, transient elastography (TE) and immediate access to DAA treatment were offered.

Results: A total of 310 HCV-seropositive patients were identified. Of those, 145 could be contacted and 109 attended their appointment at our clinic. HIV-coinfection was highly prevalent in our cohort (n = 86/145; 78.9%), while pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) was taken by 21.7% (n = 5/23) of non-HIV patients. Sexual risk behavior and (history of) intravenous drug use was reported by 32.1% and 13.8% of patients, respectively. Most MSM had already achieved sustained virological response (SVR) to previous antiviral treatment (n = 72, 66.1%) or experienced spontaneous clearance (n = 10, 9.2%). Advanced fibrosis was only detected in 3/109 (2.8%) patients. 30 MSM tested positive for HCV-RNA and DAA treatment was initiated in 29 patients - all achieved SVR.

Conclusion: A targeted HCV test-and-treat program revealed a high prevalence of HCV seropositivity among Viennese MSM, potentially associated with high-risk sexual behavior and drug use. Early DAA treatment seems warranted in viremic HCV-MSM as SVR was 100%, which in turn prevents further HCV transmission.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00508-021-01898-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8237255PMC
July 2021

Safety of direct oral anticoagulants in patients with advanced liver disease.

Liver Int 2021 09 10;41(9):2159-2170. Epub 2021 Jul 10.

Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Internal Medicine III, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.

Background & Aims: While direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs) are increasingly used in patients with liver disease, safety data especially in advanced chronic liver disease (ACLD) are limited.

Methods: Liver disease patients receiving DOAC treatment (ACLD: n = 104; vascular liver disease: n = 29) or vitamin K antagonists (VKA)/low-molecular-weight heparin (LMWH; ACLD: n = 45; vascular: n = 13) between January 2010 and September 2020 were retrospectively included. Invasive procedures and bleeding events were recorded. Calibrated anti-Xa peak levels and thrombomodulin-modified thrombin generation assays (TM-TGAs) were measured in a subgroup of 35/28 DOAC patients.

Results: Among patients receiving DOAC, 55 (41.3%) had advanced liver dysfunction (Child-Pugh-stage [CPS] B/C) and 66 (49.6%) had experienced decompensation. Overall, 205 procedures were performed in 60 patients and procedure-related bleedings occurred in 7 (11.7%) patients. Additionally, 38 (28.6%) patients experienced spontaneous (15 minor, 23 major) bleedings during a median follow-up of 10.5 (IQR: 4.0-27.8) months. Spontaneous bleedings in ACLD patients were more common in CPS-B/C (at 12 months: 36.9% vs CPS-A: 15.9%, subdistribution hazard ratio [SHR]: 3.23 [95% CI: 1.59-6.58], P < .001), as were major bleedings (at 12 months: 22.0% vs 5.0%, SHR: 5.82 [95% CI: 2.00-16.90], P < .001). Importantly, CPS (adjusted SHR: 4.12 [91% CI: 1.82-9.37], P < .001), but not the presence of hepatocellular carcinoma or varices, was independently associated with major bleeding during DOAC treatment. Additionally, ACLD patients experiencing bleeding had worse overall survival (at 12 months: 88.9% vs 95.0% without bleeding; P < .001). Edoxaban anti-Xa peak levels were higher in patients with CPS-B/C (345 [95% CI: 169-395] vs CPS-A: 137 [95% CI: 96-248] ng/mL, P = .048) and were associated with lower TM-TGA. Importantly, spontaneous bleeding rates were comparable to VKA/LMWH patients.

Conclusions: Anticoagulants including DOACs should be used with caution in patients with advanced liver disease due to a significant rate of spontaneous bleeding events.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/liv.14992DOI Listing
September 2021

Recent advances in the understanding and management of hepatorenal syndrome.

Fac Rev 2021 21;10:48. Epub 2021 May 21.

Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Internal Medicine III, Medical University of Vienna, Waehringer Guertel 18-20, 1090 Vienna, Austria.

Renal dysfunction occurs frequently in hospitalized patients with advanced chronic liver disease (ACLD)/cirrhosis and has profound prognostic implications. In ACLD patients with ascites, hepatorenal syndrome (HRS) may result from circulatory dysfunction that leads to reduced kidney perfusion and glomerular filtration rate (in the absence of structural kidney damage). The traditional subclassification of HRS has recently been replaced by acute kidney injury (AKI) type of HRS (HRS-AKI) and non-AKI type of HRS (HRS-NAKI), replacing the terms "HRS type 1" and "HRS type 2", respectively. Importantly, the concept of absolute serum creatinine (sCr) cutoffs for diagnosing HRS was partly abandoned and short term sCr dynamics now may suffice for AKI diagnosis, which facilitates early treatment initiation that may prevent the progression to HRS-AKI or increase the chances of AKI/HRS-AKI reversal. Recent randomized controlled trials have established (a) the efficacy of (long-term) albumin in the prevention of complications of ascites (including HRS-AKI), (b) the benefits of transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt placement in patients with recurrent ascites, and (c) the superiority of terlipressin over noradrenaline for the treatment of HRS-AKI in the context of acute-on-chronic liver failure. This review article aims to summarize recent advances in the understanding and management of HRS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.12703/r/10-48DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8170686PMC
May 2021

Combined effects of PNPLA3, TM6SF2 and HSD17B13 variants on severity of biopsy-proven non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

Hepatol Int 2021 Aug 2;15(4):922-933. Epub 2021 Jun 2.

Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Internal Medicine III, Medical University of Vienna, Waehringer Guertel 18-20, 1090, Vienna, Austria.

Objective: Several single-nucleotide polymorphisms have been identified to be disadvantageous or protective in regard to disease severity in patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). However, it is unclear, whether including genetic risk factor(s) either alone or combined into risk stratification algorithms for NAFLD actually provides incremental benefit over clinical risk factors.

Design: Patients with biopsy-proven NAFLD were genotyped for the PNPLA3-rs738409(minor allele:G), TM6SF2-rs58542926(minor allele:T) and HSD17B13- rs72613567 (minor allele:TA) variants. The NAFLD activity score (NAS) and fibrosis stage (F0-F4) were used to grade and stage all liver biopsy samples. Patients from seven centers throughout Central Europe were considered for the study.

Results: 703 patients were included: NAS ≥ 5:173(24.6%); Fibrosis: F3-4:81(11.5%). PNPLA3 G/G genotype was associated with a NAS ≥ 5(aOR 2.23, p = 0.007) and advanced fibrosis (aOR-3.48, p < 0.001).TM6SF2 T/- was associated with advanced fibrosis (aOR 1.99, p = 0.023). HSD17B13 TA/- was associated with a lower probability of NAS ≥ 5(TA/T: aOR 0.65, p = 0.041, TA/TA: aOR 0.40, p = 0.033). Regarding the predictive capability for NAS ≥ 5, well-known risk factors (age, sex, BMI, diabetes, and ALT; baseline model) had an AUC of 0.758, Addition of PNPLA3(AUC 0.766), HSB17B13(AUC 0.766), and their combination(AUC 0.775), but not of TM6SF2(AUC 0.762), resulted in a higher diagnostic accuracy of the model. Addition of genetic markers for the prediction of advanced fibrosis (baseline model: age, sex, BMI, diabetes: AUC 0.777) resulted in a higher AUC if PNPLA3(AUC 0.789), and TM6SF2(AUC 0.786) but not if HSD17B13(0.777) were added.

Conclusion: In biopsy-proven NAFLD, PNPLA3 G/-, TM6SF2 T/- and HSD17B13 TA/- carriage are associated with severity of NAFLD. Incorporating these genetic risk factors into risk stratification models might improve their predictive accuracy for severity of NAFLD and/or advanced fibrosis on liver biopsy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12072-021-10200-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8382644PMC
August 2021

Patterns of acute decompensation in hospitalized patients with cirrhosis and course of acute-on-chronic liver failure.

United European Gastroenterol J 2021 May;9(4):427-437

Department of Internal Medicine III, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.

Introduction: Recently, based on data from the PREDICT study, the European Foundation for the Study of Chronic Liver Failure (EF-CLIF) consortium proposed pathophysiological/prognostic groups in hospitalized patients with cirrhosis: stable decompensated cirrhosis (SDC), unstable decompensated cirrhosis (UDC), pre-acute-on-chronic liver failure (pre-ACLF), and ACLF. We evaluated the outcomes of these subgroups in a real-life cohort of hospitalized patients with cirrhosis.

Methods: Patients with cirrhosis developing first AD between 09/2010 and 12/2017 at the Vienna General Hospital were evaluated for this retrospective analysis.

Results: Two hundred and ten patients with cirrhosis (aged 57.6 ± 11.8 years) including n = 45 (21.4%) SDC, n = 100 (47.6%) UDC, n = 28 (13.3%) pre-ACLF, and n = 37 (17.6%) with ACLF were considered. The proposed AD subgroups discriminated between patients with favorable (1-year mortality: SDC: 6.7% and UDC: 19.6%) and dismal prognosis (90-day mortality: pre-ACLF: 42.9%). Interestingly, systemic inflammation gradually increased (e.g., C-reactive protein, SDC: 0.9 mg/dl, vs. UDC: 2.0 mg/dl vs. pre-ACLF: 3.2 mg/dl, p < 0.001) while renal function was progressively deteriorating (creatinine levels, SDC: 0.8 mg/dl vs. UDC: 0.9 mg/dl vs. pre-ACLF: 1.2 mg/dl, p < 0.001) across prognostic subgroups in patients with cirrhosis.

Discussion: The recently proposed pathophysiological/prognostic EF-CLIF subgroups are also reproduceable in a real-life cohort of cirrhotic patients. As ACLF is a common and important complication, patients at risk of pre-ACLF at index AD should be evaluated and if disease proceeds, been treated early and aggressively to avoid excessive mortality.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ueg2.12089DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8259248PMC
May 2021

The differential activation of cardiovascular hormones across distinct stages of portal hypertension predicts clinical outcomes.

Hepatol Int 2021 May 21. Epub 2021 May 21.

Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Medicine III, Medical University of Vienna, Waehringer Guertel 18-20, 1090, Vienna, Austria.

Background And Aims: The cardiovascular hormones renin/angiotensin/aldosterone (RAA), brain-type natriuretic peptide (BNP)and arginine-vasopressin (AVP) are key regulators of systemic circulatory homeostasis in portal hypertension (PH). We assessed (i) the activation of renin, BNP and AVP across distinct stages of PH and (ii) whether activation of these hormones correlates with clinical outcomes.

Methods: Plasma levels of renin, proBNP and copeptin (AVP biomarker) were determined in 663 patients with advanced chronic liver disease (ACLD) undergoing hepatic venous pressure gradient (HVPG) measurement at the Vienna General Hospital between 11/2011 and 02/2019. We stratified for Child stage (A-C), HVPG (6-9 mmHg, 10-15 mmHg, ≥ 16 mmHg) and compensated vs. decompensated ACLD.

Results: With increasing PH, hyperdynamic state was indicated by higher heart rates (6-9 mmHg: median 71.0 [IQR 18.0] bpm, 10-15 mmHg: 76.0 [19.0] bpm, ≥ 16 mmHg: 80.0 [22.0] bpm; p < 0.001), lower mean arterial pressure (6-9 mmHg: 103.0 [13.5] mmHg, 10-15 mmHg: 101.0 [19.5] mmHg, ≥ 16 mmHg: 99.0 [21.0] mmHg; p = 0.032) and lower serum sodium (6-9 mmHg: 139.0 [3.0] mmol/L, 10-15 mmHg: 138.0 [4.0] mmol/L, ≥ 16 mmHg: 138.0 [5.0] mmol/L; p < 0.001). Across HVPG strata (6-9 mmHg vs. 10-15 mmHg vs ≥ 16 mmHg), median plasma levels of renin (21.0 [50.5] vs. 25.1 [70.9] vs. 65.4 [219.6] µIU/mL; p < 0.001), proBNP (86.1 [134.0] vs. 63.6 [118.0], vs. 132.2 [208.9] pg/mL; p = 0.002) and copeptin (7.8 [7.7] vs. 5.6 [8.0] vs. 10.7 [18.6] pmol/L; p = 0.024) increased with severity of PH. Elevated renin levels independently predicted first hepatic decompensation (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR]: 1.69; 95% confidence interval [95% CI] 1.07-2.68; p = 0.025) and mortality in compensated patients (aHR: 3.15; 95% CI 1.70-5.84; p < 0.001) and the overall cohort aHR: 1.42; 95% CI 1.01-2.01; p = 0.046). Elevated copeptin levels predicted mortality in decompensated patients (aHR: 5.77; 95% CI 1.27-26.33; p = 0.024) and in the overall cohort (aHR: 3.29; 95% CI 1.36-7.95; p = 0.008). ProBNP levels did not predict clinical outcomes.

Conclusions: The cardiovascular hormones renin, proBNP and AVP are activated with progression of ACLD and PH. Renin activation is a risk factor for hepatic decompensation and mortality, especially in compensated patients. Increased plasma copeptin is a risk factor for mortality, in particular in decompensated patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12072-021-10203-9DOI Listing
May 2021

Intraperitoneal Activation of Coagulation and Fibrinolysis in Patients with Cirrhosis and Ascites.

Thromb Haemost 2021 May 21. Epub 2021 May 21.

Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Internal Medicine III, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.

Development of ascites is the most common form of decompensation of cirrhosis. We aimed to investigate the coagulation system in ascitic fluid and plasma of patients with cirrhosis. We determined coagulation parameters and performed clotting and fibrinolysis experiments in ascitic fluid and plasma of thoroughly characterized patients with cirrhosis and ascites ( = 25) and in plasma of patients with cirrhosis but without ascites ( = 25), matched for severity of portal hypertension. We also investigated plasma D-dimer levels in an independent cohort of patients ( = 317) with clinically significant portal hypertension (HVPG ≥ 10 mmHg), grouped according to ascites severity. Ascitic fluid was procoagulant in a clotting assay. The procoagulant potential of ascitic fluid was abolished by depletion of extracellular vesicles from ascitic fluid by filtration or by addition of a tissue factor-neutralizing antibody. Compared with plasma, extracellular vesicle-associated tissue factor activity was high in ascitic fluid, while activities of other coagulation factors were low. The extracellular vesicle-depleted fraction of ascitic fluid induced fibrinolysis, which was prevented by aprotinin, indicating the presence of plasmin in ascitic fluid. Plasma peak thrombin generation and parameters reflecting fibrinolysis were independently associated with the presence of ascites. Finally, plasma D-dimer levels were independently linked to ascites severity in our second cohort comprising 317 patients. In conclusion, coagulation and fibrinolysis become activated in ascites of patients with cirrhosis. While tissue factor-exposing extracellular vesicles in ascitic fluid seem unable to pass the peritoneal membrane, fibrinolytic enzymes get activated in ascitic fluid and may re-enter the systemic circulation and induce systemic fibrinolysis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1055/a-1515-9529DOI Listing
May 2021

Noninvasive Diagnosis of Portal Hypertension in Patients With Compensated Advanced Chronic Liver Disease.

Am J Gastroenterol 2021 04;116(4):723-732

1Liver Unit, Department of Internal Medicine, Hospital Universitari Vall d'Hebron, Vall d'Hebron Institut de Recerca (VHIR), Faculty of Medicine, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain; 2Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Enfermedades Hepáticas y Digestivas (CIBERehd), Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Madrid, Spain; 3Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Internal Medicine III, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria; 4Vienna Hepatic Hemodynamic Laboratory, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria; 5Service d'Hépatologie CHU Toulouse Rangueil, Institut Cardiomet et Université Paul Sabatier, Toulouse, France; 6UCL Institute for Liver and Digestive Health and Sheila Sherlock Liver Centre, Royal Free Hospital and UCL, London, United Kingdom; 7Swiss Liver Center, UVCM, Inselspital, Department of Biomedical Research, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland; 8Liver Unit, Regional Institute of Gastroenterology and Hepatology "Octavian Fodor," University of Medicine and Pharmacy "Iuliu Hatieganu," Cluj-Napoca, Romania; 9Division of Gastroenterology (Liver Unit), University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada; 10Division of Internal Medicine II, Krankenhaus Barmherzige Brüder, Vienna, Austria; 11Liver Unit, Hospital Clinic, IDIBAPS, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.

Introduction: We aimed to explore the prevalence of portal hypertension in the most common etiologies of patients with compensated advanced chronic liver disease (cACLD) and develop classification rules, based on liver stiffness measurement (LSM), that could be readily used to diagnose or exclude clinically significant portal hypertension (CSPH) in clinical practice.

Methods: This is an international cohort study including patients with paired LSM/hepatic venous pressure gradient (HVPG), LSM ≥10 kPa, and no previous decompensation. Portal hypertension was defined by an HVPG >5 mm Hg. A positive predictive value ≥90% was considered to validate LSM cutoffs for CSPH (HVPG ≥10 mm Hg), whereas a negative predictive value ≥90% ruled out CSPH.

Results: A total of 836 patients with hepatitis C (n = 358), nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH, n = 248), alcohol use (n = 203), and hepatitis B (n = 27) were evaluated. Portal hypertension prevalence was >90% in all cACLD etiologies, except for patients with NASH (60.9%), being even lower in obese patients with NASH (53.3%); these lower prevalences of portal hypertension in patients with NASH were maintained across different strata of LSM values. LSM ≥25 kPa was the best cutoff to rule in CSPH in alcoholic liver disease, chronic hepatitis B, chronic hepatitis C, and nonobese patients with NASH, whereas in obese NASH patients, the positive predictive value was only 62.8%. A new model for patients with NASH (ANTICIPATE-NASH model) to predict CSPH considering body mass index, LSM, and platelet count was developed, and a nomogram was constructed. LSM ≤15 kPa plus platelets ≥150 × 10/L ruled out CSPH in most etiologies.

Discussion: Patients with cACLD of NASH etiology, especially obese patients with NASH, present lower prevalences of portal hypertension compared with other cACLD etiologies. LSM ≥25 kPa is sufficient to rule in CSPH in most etiologies, including nonobese patients with NASH, but not in obese patients with NASH.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.14309/ajg.0000000000000994DOI Listing
April 2021

Influence of Genetic Variants on Disease Regression and Outcomes in HCV-Related Advanced Chronic Liver Disease after SVR.

J Pers Med 2021 Apr 7;11(4). Epub 2021 Apr 7.

Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Internal Medicine III, Medical University of Vienna, 1090 Vienna, Austria.

Genetic variants including and have been shown to influence progression to advanced chronic liver disease (ACLD) in patients with chronic hepatitis C (CHC). We aimed to investigate their impact on disease regression (i.e., changes in hepatic venous pressure gradient [HVPG] and non-invasive surrogates [liver stiffness measurement (LSM), von Willebrand factor (VWF), and VWF/platelet count ratio (VITRO)]) and clinical outcomes after CHC cure in 346 patients with pre-treatment ACLD. Patients carrying the minor allele had more advanced liver disease prior to antiviral therapy, confirming its impact on liver disease progression. In a subgroup of 88 patients who underwent paired HVPG-measurements and were genotyped for all SNP/indels, genotypes were not associated with changes in HVPG. In line, changes in non-invasive surrogates of portal hypertension (LSM/VWF/VITRO) were comparable between carriers and non-carriers of the -allele in the overall cohort. Finally, carriage of -allele was not associated with the development of hepatic decompensation, de-novo hepatocellular carcinoma, or transplant-free mortality during a median follow-up of 42 months after the end of antiviral treatment. Therefore, genetic variants in do not impact the regression of portal hypertension and clinical outcomes in patients with pre-treatment ACLD after CHC cure.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/jpm11040281DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8067986PMC
April 2021

Prevention of First Decompensation in Advanced Chronic Liver Disease.

Clin Liver Dis 2021 05 10;25(2):291-310. Epub 2021 Mar 10.

Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Internal Medicine III, Medical University of Vienna, Waehringer Guertel 18-20, Vienna 1090, Austria; Vienna Hepatic Hemodynamic Lab, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.

The first occurrence of decompensation constitutes a watershed moment in the natural history of chronic liver disease; it denotes a point of no return in a relevant proportion of patients. Preventive strategies may profoundly decrease cirrhosis-related morbidity and mortality. Removing the primary etiologic factor and cofactors, is key; however, a considerable proportion of patients require additional etiology-independent treatment strategies that target important pathomechanisms promoting decompensation (ie, portal hypertension and systemic inflammation). This article explains the importance of preventing first decompensation and summarizes the evidence for etiologic and etiology-independent (most important, nonselective beta-blockers and statins) therapies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cld.2021.01.003DOI Listing
May 2021

The Addition of C-Reactive Protein and von Willebrand Factor to Model for End-Stage Liver Disease-Sodium Improves Prediction of Waitlist Mortality.

Hepatology 2021 Sep 29;74(3):1533-1545. Epub 2021 Aug 29.

Department of Surgery, Division of Transplantation Surgery, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN.

Background And Aims: Patients with cirrhosis on the liver transplant (LT) waiting list may die or be removed because of complications of portal hypertension (PH) or infections. von Willebrand factor antigen (vWF-Ag) and C-reactive protein (CRP) are simple, broadly available markers of these processes.

Approach And Results: We determined whether addition of vWF-Ag and CRP to the Model for End-Stage Liver Disease-Sodium (MELD-Na) score improves risk stratification of patients awaiting LT. CRP and vWF-Ag at LT listing were assessed in two independent cohorts (Medical University of Vienna [exploration cohort] and Mayo Clinic Rochester [validation cohort]). Clinical characteristics, MELD-Na, and mortality on the waiting list were recorded. Prediction of 3-month waiting list mortality was assessed by receiver operating characteristics curve (ROC-AUC). In order to explore potential mechanisms underlying the prognostic utility of vWF-Ag and CRP in this setting, we evaluated their association with PH, bacterial translocation, systemic inflammation, and circulatory dysfunction. In the exploration cohort (n = 269) vWF-Ag and CRP both improved the predictive value of MELD-Na for 3-month waitlist mortality and showed the highest predictive value when combined (AUC: MELD-Na, 0.764; MELD-Na + CRP, 0.790; MELD-Na + vWF, 0.803; MELD-Na + CRP + vWF-Ag, 0.824). Results were confirmed in an independent validation cohort (n = 129; AUC: MELD-Na, 0.677; MELD-Na + CRP + vWF-Ag, 0.882). vWF-Ag was independently associated with PH and inflammatory biomarkers, whereas CRP closely, and MELD independently, correlated with biomarkers of bacterial translocation/inflammation.

Conclusions: The addition of vWF-Ag and CRP-reflecting central pathophysiological mechanisms of PH, bacterial translocation, and inflammation, that are all drivers of mortality on the waiting list for LT-to the MELD-Na score improves prediction of waitlist mortality. Using the vWFAg-CRP-MELD-Na model for prioritizing organ allocation may improve prediction of waitlist mortality and decrease waitlist mortality.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hep.31838DOI Listing
September 2021

Hepatobiliary phenotypes of adults with alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency.

Gut 2021 Feb 25. Epub 2021 Feb 25.

Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Internal Medicine III, Medical University of Vienna, Health Care Provider of the European Reference Network on Rare Liver Disorders (ERN RARE LIVER), Vienna, Austria.

Objective: Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency (AATD) is a common, potentially lethal inborn disorder caused by mutations in alpha-1 antitrypsin (AAT). Homozygosity for the 'Pi*Z' variant of AAT (Pi*ZZ genotype) causes lung and liver disease, whereas heterozygous 'Pi*Z' carriage (Pi*MZ genotype) predisposes to gallstones and liver fibrosis. The clinical significance of the more common 'Pi*S' variant remains largely undefined and no robust data exist on the prevalence of liver tumours in AATD.

Design: Baseline phenotypes of AATD individuals and non-carriers were analysed in 482 380 participants in the UK Biobank. 1104 participants of a multinational cohort (586 Pi*ZZ, 239 Pi*SZ, 279 non-carriers) underwent a comprehensive clinical assessment. Associations were adjusted for age, sex, body mass index, diabetes and alcohol consumption.

Results: Among UK Biobank participants, Pi*ZZ individuals displayed the highest liver enzyme values, the highest occurrence of liver fibrosis/cirrhosis (adjusted OR (aOR)=21.7 (8.8-53.7)) and primary liver cancer (aOR=44.5 (10.8-183.6)). Subjects with Pi*MZ genotype had slightly elevated liver enzymes and moderately increased odds for liver fibrosis/cirrhosis (aOR=1.7 (1.2-2.2)) and cholelithiasis (aOR=1.3 (1.2-1.4)). Individuals with homozygous Pi*S mutation (Pi*SS genotype) harboured minimally elevated alanine aminotransferase values, but no other hepatobiliary abnormalities. Pi*SZ participants displayed higher liver enzymes, more frequent liver fibrosis/cirrhosis (aOR=3.1 (1.1-8.2)) and primary liver cancer (aOR=6.6 (1.6-26.9)). The higher fibrosis burden was confirmed in a multinational cohort. Male sex, age ≥50 years, obesity and the presence of diabetes were associated with significant liver fibrosis.

Conclusion: Our study defines the hepatobiliary phenotype of individuals with the most relevant AATD genotypes including their predisposition to liver tumours, thereby allowing evidence-based advice and individualised hepatological surveillance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/gutjnl-2020-323729DOI Listing
February 2021

Author's reply to "Thromboelastometry in patients with advanced chronic liver disease: a complex interplay".

Hepatol Int 2021 Apr 17;15(2):522-524. Epub 2021 Feb 17.

Vienna Hepatic Hemodynamic Lab, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12072-021-10145-2DOI Listing
April 2021

Direct patient-physician communication via a hepatitis C hotline facilitates treatment initiation in patients with poor adherence.

Wien Klin Wochenschr 2021 May 22;133(9-10):452-460. Epub 2020 Dec 22.

Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Internal Medicine III, Medical University of Vienna, Waehringer Guertel 18-20, 1090, Vienna, Austria.

Background: Despite the availability of effective and well-tolerated direct acting antivirals (DAAs) against hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, a substantial number of HCV patients remain untreated. Novel strategies targeting HCV patients with poor adherence are urgently needed to enable HCV elimination.

Methods: We implemented a physician-operated HCV hotline (HCV-Phone) that was promoted within the patient community and referral networks. Previously diagnosed HCV patients were contacted via the HCV-Phone and offered low-barrier access to DAA therapy. Patients/referring physicians could directly call or send messages to the HCV-Phone. The HCV-Phone related and unrelated visits as well as DAA treatment initiations throughout 2019 were documented. Patients were followed until October 2020. This study analyzed treatment initiation, adherence to scheduled visits and outcomes in patients in whom management was assisted by the HCV-Phone.

Results: Out of 98 patient contacts via the HCV-Phone 74 attended treatment assessment at our clinic. While 15 (20%) patients were HCV-RNA negative and 1 (1%) patient did not initiate therapy, 58 patients were recruited for DAA therapy via the HCV-Phone. A total of 21 additional patients who started DAAs without HCV-Phone assistance required the use of the HCV-Phone infrastructure later on during treatment, resulting in a total of 79 HCV-Phone related DAA therapies. The poor adherence of patients previously diagnosed with HCV at our clinic is underlined by the long duration from HCV diagnosis to DAA therapy of median 37.0 months (IQR 2.7-181.1 months). A total of 55 (70%) HCV patients achieved a sustained virological response (SVR), 5 (6%) discontinued therapy, 1 (1%) had a reinfection, while 10 (13%) and 8 (10%) patients were lost during DAA therapy or follow-up, respectively.

Conclusion: The implementation of a physician-operated phone hotline for patients with HCV infection facilitated treatment initiation in an HCV population with poor adherence. Mainly due to losses to follow-up, the SVR rate remained suboptimal with 70%.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00508-020-01790-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8116284PMC
May 2021

Prognostic impact of sarcopenia in cirrhotic patients stratified by different severity of portal hypertension.

Liver Int 2021 04 22;41(4):799-809. Epub 2020 Dec 22.

Department of Biomedical Imaging and Image-Guided Therapy, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.

Background And Aims: Portal hypertension (PH) and sarcopenia are common in patients with advanced chronic liver disease (ACLD). However, the interaction between PH and sarcopenia and their specific and independent impact on prognosis and mortality has yet to be systematically investigated in patients with ACLD.

Methods: Consecutive patients with ACLD and hepatic venous pressure gradient (HVPG) ≥10 mm Hg with available CT/MRI imaging were included. Sarcopenia was defined by transversal psoas muscle thickness (TPMT) at <12 mm/m in men and <8 mm/m in women at the level of the third lumbar vertebrae. Hepatic decompensation and mortality was recorded during follow-up.

Results: Among 203 patients (68% male, age: 55 ± 11, model for end-stage liver disease [MELD]: 12 [9-15]), sarcopenia was observed in 77 (37.9%) and HVPG was ≥20 mm Hg in 98 (48.3%). There was no correlation between TPMT and HVPG (r = .031, P = .66), median HVPG was not different between patients with vs without sarcopenia (P = .211). Sarcopenia was significantly associated with first/further decompensation both in compensated (SHR: 3.05, P = .041) and in decompensated patients (SHR: 1.86, P = .021). Furthermore, sarcopenia (SARC) was a significant predictor of mortality irrespective of HVPG (HVPG < 20-SARC: SHR: 2.25, P = .021; HVPG ≥ 20-SARC: SHR: 3.33, P = .001). On multivariate analysis adjusted for age, HVPG and MELD, sarcopenia was an independent risk factor for mortality (aHR: 1.99, 95% confidence interval: 1.2-3.3, P = .007).

Conclusion: Sarcopenia has a major impact on clinical outcomes both in compensated and in decompensated ACLD patients. The presence of sarcopenia doubled the risk for mortality independently from the severity of PH.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/liv.14758DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8048669PMC
April 2021

Vitamin A levels reflect disease severity and portal hypertension in patients with cirrhosis.

Hepatol Int 2020 Dec 8;14(6):1093-1103. Epub 2020 Dec 8.

Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Internal Medicine III, Medical University of Vienna, Währinger Gürtel 18-20, 1090, Vienna, Austria.

Background And Aims: The liver plays a key role in the storage, metabolism and homeostasis of fat-soluble vitamins. We investigated the relation of Vitamin(Vit)A/D/E serum levels with severity of liver disease and portal hypertension (PHT).

Methods: VitA/D/E serum levels were assessed in 234 patients with advanced chronic liver disease (ACLD, i.e. hepatic venous pressure gradient [HVPG] ≥ 6 mmHg). Patients with hepatocellular carcinoma, pre-/post-hepatic PHT, TIPS or liver transplantation were excluded.

Results: Most patients were male (n = 153; 65%) with a median age of 57.6 (49.7-64.5) years. Thirty-two (14%) patients had HVPG 6-9 mmHg, 66 (28%) 10-15 mmHg, and 136 (58%) ≥ 16 mmHg, respectively. VitD deficiency (25-OH-vitamin-D <50 nmol/L) was found in 133 (57%) with higher prevalence in Child-Turcotte-Pugh (CTP)-C: 85% vs. B: 66% vs. A: 47% (p < 0.001). VitD levels displayed significant but weak correlations with hepatic dysfunction and PHT. VitE levels were normal in 227 (97%) patients and displayed no relevant association with hepatic dysfunction or PHT. Only 63 (27%) patients had normal (>1.05 µmol/L) VitA levels, while 58 (25%) had mild (0.70-1.04 µmol/L), 71 (30%) moderate (0.35-0.69 µmol/L), and 42(18%) severe(<0.35 µmol/L) VitA deficiency. VitA correlated with HVPG (Rho = -0.409), CTP score (Rho = -0.646), and serum bile acid levels (Rho = -0.531; all p < 0.001). The prevalence of decompensated ACLD (dACLD) continuously increased with severity of VitA deficiency (no: 40% vs. mild: 51% vs. moderate: 67% vs. severe: 91% had dACLD; p < 0.001). CTP score (per point; OR 2.46; 95%CI 1.80-3.37; p <0.001), age (per year; OR 0.95; 95%CI 0.92-0.98; p = 0.001) and elevated bile acid levels(>10 µmol/L; OR 3.62; 95%CI 1.61-8.14; p = 0.002) were independently associated with VitA deficiency.

Conclusion: VitA and VitD but not VitE deficiencies are highly prevalent in ACLD. VitA deficiency strongly correlates with hepatic dysfunction, PHT and bile acid levels and is associated with decompensated ACLD.

Trial Registration Number: NCT03267615.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12072-020-10112-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7803875PMC
December 2020

Clinical Course of Porto-Sinusoidal Vascular Disease Is Distinct From Idiopathic Noncirrhotic Portal Hypertension.

Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2020 Dec 3. Epub 2020 Dec 3.

Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Internal Medicine III, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria; Vienna Hepatic Hemodynamic Lab, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria; Rare Liver Disease Center of the European Reference Network RARE-LIVER, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria; Christian Doppler Laboratory for Portal Hypertension and Liver Fibrosis, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.

Background & Aims: Porto-sinusoidal vascular disease (PSVD) was recently proposed as novel clinical entity characterized by typical histological changes with or without portal hypertension (PH) in the absence of cirrhosis. Thus, we aimed (i) to describe clinical characteristics and the outcome of PSVD patients and (ii) to compare these to patients meeting traditional idiopathic non-cirrhotic portal hypertension (INCPH) criteria.

Methods: Patients undergoing liver biopsy (baseline) ±hepatic venous pressure gradient (HVPG) measurement at the Vienna General Hospital between 2000-2019 were screened for PSVD and INCPH criteria.

Results: 91 patients were diagnosed with PSVD of which 28 (30.8%) also fulfilled INCPH criteria (INCPH+/PSVD+). Specific histological and specific clinical PH signs were found in 72 (79.1%) and 54 (59.3%) patients, respectively. INCPH+/PSVD+ showed higher Child-Pugh-scores (7±2 vs. 6±1 points, p = 0.002) and a higher prevalence of decompensation (57.1% vs. 28.6%, p = 0.009) than INCPH-/PSVD+ patients. Importantly, hepatic decompensation after three years (3Y) occurred in 11.2% of PSVD patients with specific clinical signs of PH, while no decompensation occurred in patients with only specific histological or with unspecific clinical/histological signs (p = 0.002). When categorizing by INCPH definition, 3Y decompensation was 13.4% in INCPH+/PSVD+ and 3.8% in INCPH-/PSVD+ (p = 0.120). While overall mortality was similar in INCPH+/PSVD+ (n = 6; 21.4%) and INCPH-/PSVD+ (n = 10; 15.9%) patients (p = 0.558), liver-related mortality tended to be higher in INCPH+/PSVD+ (6.9%) than in INCPH-/PSVD+ (0%, p = 0.078).

Conclusion: Novel PSVD criteria facilitate diagnosis. Compared to INCPH, clinical course of PSVD patients is more favorable. Importantly, specific signs of PH including varices and collaterals are associated with hepatic decompensation and mortality.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cgh.2020.11.039DOI Listing
December 2020

Perceptions on the management of varices and on the use of albumin in patients with cirrhosis among GI specialists in Austria.

Wien Klin Wochenschr 2021 May 3;133(9-10):421-431. Epub 2020 Dec 3.

Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Internal Medicine III, Vienna General Hospital and Medical University of Vienna, Währinger Gürtel 18-20, 1090, Vienna, Austria.

Background: Portal hypertension (PH) causes severe complications in patients with liver cirrhosis, such as variceal bleeding and ascites; however, data on the knowledge and perceptions on guideline recommendations for the management of varices and the use of albumin is scarce.

Methods: We designed two structured surveys on (i) the management of varices and (ii) the use of albumin for Austrian physicians of specialized Gastro-Intestinal (GI) centers. The interviewed physicians were confronted spontaneously and provided ad hoc responses to the questionnaire.

Results: In total, 158 surveys were completed. Interestingly, many specialists (30%) would recommend a follow-up gastroscopy after 1 year in patients with compensated cirrhosis without varices (i.e., overtreatment). For small varices, 81.5% would use non-selective beta blockers (NSBB) for primary prophylaxis (PP). For PP in patients with large varices, endoscopic band ligation (EBL) plus NSBB was preferred by 51.4% (i.e., overtreatment). Knowledge on the indication criteria for early TIPS (transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt) was reported by 54.3%, but only 20% could report these criteria correctly. The majority (87.1%) correctly indicated a preference to use NSBB and EBL for secondary prophylaxis (SP). The majority of participating gastroenterologists reported no restrictions on the use of albumin (89.8%) in their hospitals. Of the interviewed specialists, 63.6% would use albumin in patients with SBP; however, only 11.4% would use the doses recommended by guidelines. The majority of specialists indicated using albumin at the recommended doses for hepatorenal syndrome (HRS-AKI, 86.4%) and for large volume paracentesis (LVP, 73.3%). The individual responses regarding albumin use for infections/sepsis, hyponatremia, renal impairment, and encephalopathy were heterogeneous.

Conclusion: The reported management of PH and varices is mostly adherent to guidelines, but endoscopic surveillance in patients without varices is too intense and EBL is overused in the setting of PP. Knowledge on the correct use of early TIPS must be improved among Austrian specialists. Albumin use is widely unrestricted in Austria; however, albumin is often underdosed in established indications.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00508-020-01769-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8116244PMC
May 2021

Amelioration of systemic inflammation in advanced chronic liver disease upon beta-blocker therapy translates into improved clinical outcomes.

Gut 2021 Sep 16;70(9):1758-1767. Epub 2020 Nov 16.

Internal Medicine III, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria

Objective: Systemic inflammation promotes the development of clinical events in patients with advanced chronic liver disease (ACLD). We assessed whether (1) non-selective beta blocker (NSBB) treatment initiation impacts biomarkers of systemic inflammation and (2) whether these changes in systemic inflammation predict complications and mortality.

Design: Biomarkers of systemic inflammation, that is, white blood cell count (WBC), C reactive protein (CRP), interleukin-6 (IL-6) and procalcitonin (PCT) were determined at sequential hepatic venous pressure gradient (HVPG) measurements without NSBB and under stable NSBB intake. The influence of NSBB-related changes in systemic inflammation on the risk of decompensation and liver-related death was analysed using competing risk regression.

Results: Our study comprised 307 stable patients with ACLD (Child-A: 77 (25.1%), Child-B: 161 (52.4%), Child-C: 69 (22.5%), median HVPG: 20 (IQR 17-24) mm Hg) including 231 (75.2%) with decompensated disease.WBC significantly decreased upon NSBB therapy initiation (median: -2 (IQR -19;+13)%, p=0.011) in the overall cohort. NSBB-related reductions of WBC (Child-C: -16 (-30;+3)% vs Child-B: -2 (-16;+16)% vs Child-A: +3 (-7;+13)%, p<0.001) and of CRP (Child-C: -26 (-56,+8)% vs Child-B: -16 (-46;+13)% vs Child-A: ±0 (-33;+33)%, p<0.001) were more pronounced in advanced stages of cirrhosis. The NSBB-associated changes in WBC correlated with changes in CRP (Spearman's ρ=0.228, p<0.001), PCT (ρ=0.470, p=0.002) and IL-6 (ρ=0.501, p=0.001), but not with changes in HVPG (ρ=0.097, p=0.088).An NSBB-related decrease in systemic inflammation (ie, WBC reduction ≥15%) was achieved by n=91 (29.6%) patients and was found to be an independent protective factor of further decompensation (subdistribution HR, sHR: 0.694 (0.49-0.98), p=0.038) in decompensated patients and of liver-related mortality in the overall patient cohort (sHR: 0.561 (0.356-0.883), p=0.013).

Conclusion: NSBB therapy seems to exert systemic anti-inflammatory activity as evidenced by reductions of WBC and CRP levels. Interestingly, this effect was most pronounced in Child-C and independent of HVPG response. An NSBB-related WBC reduction by ≥15% was associated with a decreased risk of further decompensation and death.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/gutjnl-2020-322712DOI Listing
September 2021

Serum keratin 19 (CYFRA21-1) links ductular reaction with portal hypertension and outcome of various advanced liver diseases.

BMC Med 2020 11 12;18(1):336. Epub 2020 Nov 12.

Medical Clinic III, Gastroenterology, Metabolic Diseases and Intensive Care, University Hospital RWTH Aachen, Pauwelsstr. 30, 52074, Aachen, Germany.

Background: Keratins (Ks) represent tissue-specific proteins. K18 is produced in hepatocytes while K19, the most widely used ductular reaction (DR) marker, is found in cholangiocytes and hepatic progenitor cells. K18-based serum fragments are commonly used liver disease predictors, while K19-based serum fragments detected through CYFRA21-1 are established tumor but not liver disease markers yet. Since DR reflects the severity of the underlying liver disease, we systematically evaluated the usefulness of CYFRA21-1 in different liver disease severities and etiologies.

Methods: Hepatic expression of ductular keratins (K7/K19/K23) was analyzed in 57 patients with chronic liver disease (cohort i). Serum CYFRA21-1 levels were measured in 333 Austrians with advanced chronic liver disease (ACLD) of various etiologies undergoing hepatic venous pressure gradient (HVPG) measurement (cohort ii), 231 French patients with alcoholic cirrhosis (cohort iii), and 280 hospitalized Germans with decompensated cirrhosis of various etiologies (cohort iv).

Results: (i) Hepatic K19 levels were comparable among F0-F3 fibrosis stages, but increased in cirrhosis. Hepatic K19 mRNA strongly correlated with the levels of other DR-specific keratins. (ii) In ACLD, increased serum CYFRA21-1 associated with the presence of clinically significant portal hypertension (CSPH; HVPG ≥ 10 mmHg) (OR = 5.87 [2.95-11.68]) and mortality (HR = 3.02 [1.78-5.13]; median follow-up 22 months). (iii) In alcoholic cirrhosis, elevated serum CYFRA21-1 indicated increased risk of death/liver transplantation (HR = 2.59 [1.64-4.09]) and of HCC (HR = 1.74 [1.02-2.96]) over the long term (median follow-up 73 months). (iv) In decompensated cirrhosis, higher serum CYFRA21-1 predicted 90-day mortality (HR = 2.97 [1.92-4.60]) with a moderate accuracy (AUROC 0.64), independently from established prognostic scores.

Conclusions: Hepatic K19 mRNA and serum CYFRA21-1 levels rise in cirrhosis. Increased CYFRA21-1 levels associate with the presence of CSPH and reliably indicate mortality in the short and long term independently of conventional liver biochemistry markers or scoring systems. Hence, the widely available serum CYFRA21-1 constitutes a novel, DR-related marker with prognostic implications in patients with different settings of advanced liver disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12916-020-01784-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7661160PMC
November 2020

Systemic inflammation increases across distinct stages of advanced chronic liver disease and correlates with decompensation and mortality.

J Hepatol 2021 04 16;74(4):819-828. Epub 2020 Oct 16.

Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Medicine III, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria; Vienna Hepatic Hemodynamic Laboratory, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria; Christian Doppler Laboratory for Portal Hypertension and Liver Fibrosis, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria; Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Rare and Undiagnosed Diseases (LBI-RUD), Vienna, Austria; CeMM Research Center for Molecular Medicine of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna, Austria. Electronic address:

Background & Aims: Distinct prognostic stages of advanced chronic liver disease (ACLD) are defined by severity of portal hypertension (PH) and the presence/absence of clinical complications. We characterised the degree of liver dysfunction, PH, and systemic inflammation across the distinct prognostic stages and assessed their relative impact on decompensation and mortality.

Methods: A single-centre, prospective cohort of ACLD patients undergoing hepatic venous pressure gradient (HVPG) measurement between 01/2017 and 08/2019 were classified into 6 prognostic stages: mild PH (HVPG 6-9 mmHg, S0), clinically significant PH (HVPG ≥10 mmHg without varices, S1), presence of varices (S2), history of variceal bleeding (S3), first non-bleeding decompensation (S4), and further decompensation (S5). The model for end-stage liver disease (MELD), C-reactive protein (CRP), and IL-6 levels were assessed in relation to their predictive value for decompensation and death.

Results: Among 168 ACLD patients 78 had compensated (cACLD, S0 = 13; S1 = 21; S2 = 44) and 90 had decompensated (dACLD, S3 = 10; S4 = 58; S5 = 22) disease. MELD increased across all stages (p <0.001), whereas HVPG mostly increased within cACLD substages. Significant increases in CRP and IL-6 levels were only noted across dACLD substages. IL-6 was an independent predictor of decompensation at 1-year follow-up in cACLD (hazard ratio [HR] 1.06, 95% CI 1.01-1.10; p = 0.013). In dACLD patients, IL-6 levels predicted death/transplantation after 1-year of follow-up (HR 1.02, 95% CI 1.01-1.03; p = 0.004).

Conclusion: HVPG progression occurs mostly in cACLD patients, whereas systemic inflammation, as reflected by IL-6 levels, only increases substantially across dACLD stages. IL-6 levels correlate with the risk of first decompensation in cACLD and of death/transplantation in dACLD patients.

Lay Summary: Patients with advanced chronic liver disease (ACLD; i.e. liver cirrhosis) have a certain risk of mortality according to their stage of disease. Progression of disease is greatly influenced by increased pressure in the portal venous system (i.e. portal hypertension) and occurrence of clinical complications (i.e. decompensation). Our study demonstrates that systemic inflammation markedly increases across highest disease stages, and the inflammation biomarker IL-6 in blood may specifically indicate risk of disease progression in patients with ACLD.

Clinical Trials Registration: The study is registered at ClinicalTrials.gov (NCT03267615).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhep.2020.10.004DOI Listing
April 2021

Author response to Letter to the Editor: MRI-defined sarcopenia predicts mortality in patients with chronic liver disease.

Liver Int 2021 01;41(1):221-222

Vienna Hepatic Hemodynamic Lab, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/liv.14705DOI Listing
January 2021

Vascular Complications in Patients with Hepatocellular Carcinoma Treated with Sorafenib.

Cancers (Basel) 2020 Oct 13;12(10). Epub 2020 Oct 13.

Department of Internal Medicine III, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Medical University of Vienna, 1090 Vienna, Austria.

VEGF(R)-targeted therapies are associated with an increased risk of thromboembolism and bleeding, which might be pronounced in patients with increased cardiovascular risk. Nevertheless, sorafenib represents an important treatment option in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). We retrospectively investigated the risk of arterial/venous thromboembolic and bleeding events in 252 patients treated with sorafenib for HCC between 05/2006 and 03/2020 at the Medical University of Vienna. Cardiovascular risk was assessed using Framingham score. Eight patients (3.2%) experienced 11 arterial/venous thromboembolic events. Only two patients (0.8%) developed arterial thromboembolism even though cardiovascular risk was low, intermediate, and high in 15 (8.7%), 104 (60%), and 54 (31.2%) of 173 assessable patients. Median overall survival (OS) was shorter in the high risk vs. low/intermediate risk group 7.4 (95% CI: 3.4-11.3) vs. 10.0 (95% CI: 6.8-13.2 months) and independently associated with OS in multivariable analysis HR: 1.53 (95% CI: 1.07-2.19; = 0.019). Forty-eight (19%) patients experienced a bleeding, most commonly gastrointestinal bleeding (14%) followed by epistaxis (4.7%). Advanced liver dysfunction was not associated with an increased incidence of bleeding/venous thromboembolism. Sorafenib represents a safe treatment option even in patients with increased cardiovascular risk. Bleeding complications were comparable with previous reports, even though patients with more advanced liver disease were included.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers12102961DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7602103PMC
October 2020
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