Published online May 28, 2005. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v11.i20.3127
Revised: June 20, 2004
Accepted: November 4, 2004
Published online: May 28, 2005
AIM: In patients with liver cirrhosis and portal hypertension, portal hypertensive colopathy is thought to be an important cause of lower gastrointestinal hemorrhage. In this study, we evaluated the prevalence of colonic mucosal changes in patients with liver cirrhosis and its clinical significance.
METHODS: We evaluated the colonoscopic findings and liver function of 47 patients with liver cirrhosis over a 6-year period. The main cause of liver cirrhosis was post-viral hepatitis (68%) related to hepatitis B (6%) or C (62%) infection. All patients underwent upper gastrointestinal endoscopy to examine the presence of esophageal varices, cardiac varices, and congestive gastropathy, as well as a full colonoscopy to observe changes in colonic mucosa. Portal hypertensive colopathy was defined endoscopically in patients with vascular ectasia, redness, and blue vein. Vascular ectasia was classified into two types: type 1, solitary vascular ectasia; and type 2, diffuse vascular ectasia.
RESULTS: Overall portal hypertensive colopathy was present in 31 patients (66%), including solitary vascular ectasia in 17 patients (36%), diffuse vascular ectasia in 20 patients (42%), redness in 10 patients (21%) and blue vein in 6 patients (12%). As the Child-Pugh class increased in severity, the prevalence of portal hypertensive colopathy rose. Child-Pugh class B and C were significantly associated with portal hypertensive colopathy. Portal hypertensive gastropathy, esophageal varices, ascites and hepatocellular carcinoma were not related to occurrence of portal hypertensive colopathy. Platelet count was significantly associated with portal hypertensive colopathy, but prothrombin time, serum albumin level, total bilirubin level and serum ALT level were not related to occurrence of portal hypertensive colopathy.
CONCLUSION: As the Child-Pugh class worsens and platelet count decreases, the prevalence of portal hypertensive colopathy increases in patients with liver cirrhosis. A colonoscopic examination in patients with liver cirrhosis is indicated, especially those with worsening Child-Pugh class and/or decreasing platelet count, to prevent complications such as lower gastrointestinal bleeding.