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Spleen stiffness measurement is useful in patients with extrahepatic portal vein obstruction and can be used to discriminate patients with a bleed from those without a bleed with high sensitivity and specificity.


To evaluate liver stiffness (LS) and spleen stiffness (SS) in patients with extrahepatic portal vein obstruction (EHPVO).

Materials and Methods

Institutional research board approval and informed consent were obtained. LS and SS were measured in 65 consecutive patients with EHPVO. Patients underwent endoscopy, liver biopsy, liver function tests, abdominal ultrasonography, a detailed history, and examination. LS and SS measurements were also obtained in 50 age-matched healthy control subjects. Comparisons were made by using the Student t test, Mann-Whitney test for quantitative data, and χ2 or Fisher exact test for qualitative data.


Sixty-five patients with EHPVO (with a bleed, n = 45; without a bleed, n = 20; mean age, 25.4 years ± 10.7 [standard deviation]; 29 men, 36 women) were enrolled. Twenty-two (34%) had hypersplenism. LS (P = .001) and SS (P = .01) were higher in patients with EHPVO (6.7 kPa ± 2.3 and 51.7 kPa ± 21.5, respectively) than in control subjects (4.6 kPa ± 0.7 and 16.0 kPa ± 3.0, respectively). Patients who had a bleed had higher SS than did those without a bleed (60.4 kPa ± 5.4 vs 30.3 kPa ± 14.2, P = .01). There was no significant difference in age (26.7 years ± 10.4 vs 22.5 years ± 9.8, P = .8) and median duration of disease (4.5 years [range, 1–26 years] vs 6.0 years [range, 1–22 years], P = .23) in patients with a bleed versus those without. With a cutoff of 5.9 kPa for LS, sensitivity and specificity for detection of a variceal bleed were 67% and 75%, respectively. An SS cutoff of 42.8 kPa yielded sensitivity and specificity of 88% and 94%, respectively.


LS and SS were higher in patients with EHPVO than in control subjects, and patients with a history of a bleed had a higher SS than did those without a bleed.

© RSNA, 2012


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Article History

Received May 20, 2011; revision requested July 13; revision received October 18; accepted November 15; final version accepted December 29.
Published online: June 2012
Published in print: June 2012