OBJECTIVE: Even after successful Kasai portoenterostomy, progressive hepatic fibrosis in postoperative patients with biliary atresia (BA) can be associated with portal hypertension and esophageal or gastric varices. Therefore, early diagnosis and close follow-up of varices are important. We investigated the correlation between the liver stiffness scores measured by FibroScan and the presence of esophageal or gastric varices to examine the usefulness of FibroScan as a preendoscopic screening test for varices. PATIENTS AND METHODS: A total of 49 of 81 children with BA following successful Kasai operations were enrolled in this study. FibroScan and endoscopic examination were performed prospectively. RESULTS: There were 22 males (44.9%) and the mean age of the patients was 3.8 +/- 2.7 years. Esophageal or gastric varices were present in 30 patients (Vx group) and absent in 19 (nVx group). The mean liver stiffness score was significantly higher in the Vx group (21.35 +/- 10.31 kPa in the Vx group versus 9.75 +/- 8.61 kPa in the nVx group, P < 0.001). The optimal cutoff value of the liver stiffness score for the prediction of a varix was 9.7 kPa with a sensitivity of 0.97 and a specificity of 0.80. CONCLUSIONS: Liver stiffness scores measured by FibroScan correlate well with the presence of esophageal or gastric varices. FibroScan is a novel, noninvasive, and useful screening method for the preendoscopic detection of varices in postoperative patients with BA.
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