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Noninvasive scores for the prediction of esophageal varices and risk stratification in patients with cirrhosis


The primary purpose of variceal screening in patients with cirrhosis is to detect gastroesophageal varices at high risk of hemorrhage and implement preventative intervention(s). It was previously recommended that all patients with cirrhosis undergo initial and periodic longitudinal variceal screening via upper endoscopy. However, there has been growing interest and methods to identify patients with cirrhosis who may not have clinically significant portal hypertension and therefore be unlikely to have varices requiring intervention or benefit from upper endoscopy. Because the population of patients with compensated advanced chronic liver disease continues to grow, it is neither beneficial nor cost-effective to perform endoscopic variceal screening in all patients. Therefore, there is ongoing research into the development of methods to non-invasively risk stratify patients with cirrhosis for the presence of high-risk esophageal varices and effectively limit the population that undergoes endoscopic variceal screening. This is particularly important and timely in light of increasing healthcare reform and barriers to healthcare. In this review, we discuss and compare, with respect to test characteristics and clinical applicability, the available methods used to non-invasively predict the presence of esophageal varices.

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