Hepatic venous pressure gradient (HVPG), the difference between wedge and free hepatic venous pressure, is the preferred method for estimating portal pressure. However, it has been suggested that hepatic atrial pressure gradient (HAPG) - the gradient between wedge hepatic venous pressure and right atrial pressure (RAP) - might better reflect variceal hemodynamics. The aim of this study was to (1) investigate whether HAPG with nonselective beta-blockers correlates with prognosis in cirrhotic patients with portal hypertension at baseline and during treatment; (2) compare the prognostic value of HAPG with that of HVPG; and (3) investigate the agreement between portoatrial gradient (PAG) and portocaval gradient (PCG) in patients with transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS). We included 154 cirrhotic patients with varices with a complete hemodynamic study at baseline and on chronic treatment for primary (n = 71) or secondary (n = 83) prophylaxis for bleeding and 99 patients with TIPS. All patients were followed for up to 2 years; portal hypertensive-related bleeding and bleeding-free survival were analyzed. HVPG was equal or lower than HAPG in all patients (23.2 mm Hg; P <0.001). Agreement between HAPG and HVPG was modest, especially in patients with increased intra-abdominal pressure. One hundred two patients were HVPG nonresponders and 52 patients were HVPG responders to nonselective beta-blockers, whereas 101 patients were HAPG nonresponders and 53 patients were HAPG responders (k = 0.610). HVPG response revealed an excellent predictive value for bleeding risk and bleeding-free survival; HAPG did not. In our TIPS patients, 20% had a PCG ≤ 12 mm Hg and a PAG > 12 mm Hg, which may have induced unnecessary overdilation of the TIPS. Conclusion: The excellent prognostic information provided by HVPG response to drug therapy is lost if HAPG response is considered. RAP should not be used for the calculation of portal pressure gradient in patients with cirrhosis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas