Department of Gastroenterology, Maebashi Red Cross Hospital, 3-21-36 Asahi-cho, Maebashi, Gunma 371-0014, Japan.
Although spleen stiffness has recently been identified as potential surrogate marker for portal hypertension, the relationship between spleen stiffness and portal hypertension has not been fully elucidated. We attempted to determine the relationship between the liver or spleen stiffness and the presence of ascites or esophageal varices by acoustic radiation force impulse (ARFI) imaging. A total of 33 chronic hepatitis C (CHC) patients (median age 68; range 51-84) were enrolled. We evaluated the relationship between the liver or spleen stiffness and indicators of portal hypertension as well as clinical and biochemical parameters. Fourteen healthy volunteers were used for validating the accuracy of AFRI imaging. The liver and spleen stiffness increased significantly with progression of liver disease. A significant positive correlation was observed between the liver and spleen stiffness. However, spleen stiffness, but not liver stiffness, was significantly associated with the presence of ascites (P < 0.05), while there was no significant association between the spleen stiffness and spleen index/presence of esophageal varices in CHC patients. The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve based on the spleen stiffness was 0.80. In conclusion, spleen stiffness significantly correlates with the presence of ascites but not esophageal varices in CHC patients.