In cirrhotic patients under pharmacologic treatment for portal hypertension, a reduction in hepatic venous pressure gradient (HVPG) of ≥20% of baseline or to ≤12 mm Hg markedly reduces the risk of variceal rebleeding. This study was aimed at evaluating whether these hemodynamic targets also prevent other complications of portal hypertension and improve long-term survival. One hundred five cirrhotic patients included in prospective trials for the prevention of variceal rebleeding were studied. Seventy-three of the patients had 2 separate HVPG measurements, at baseline and under pharmacologic therapy with propranolol ± isosorbide mononitrate. Patients were followed for up to 8 years. Survival and risk of developing portal hypertension-related complications were compared between responders and nonresponders. Twenty-eight patients showed a reduction of HVPG ≥20% of baseline or to ≤12 mm Hg (responders), and 45 patients were nonresponders. Nonresponders had a significandy greater risk of developing variceal rebleeding (P = .013), ascites (P = .025), spontaneous bacterial peritonitis (P = .003), hepatorenal syndrome (P = .026), and hepatic encephalopathy (P = .024) than responders. Eight-year cumulative probability of survival was significandy lower in nonresponders than in responders (52% vs. 95%, respectively, P = .003). At multivariate analysis, being a nonresponder was independently associated with the risk of developing rebleeding, ascites, spontaneous bacterial peritonitis, and lower survival. In conclusion, in cirrhotic patients receiving pharmacologic treatment for prevention of variceal rebleeding, a decrease in HVPG ≥20% or to ≤12 mm Hg is associated with a marked reduction in the long-term risk of developing complications of portal hypertension and with improved survival.
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