Validating the BAVENO VI criteria to identify low risk biliary atresia patients without endoscopy for esophageal varix

BACKGROUND AND AIMS Portoenterostomy is the initial surgical treatment for biliary atresia (BA); however, no curative therapy exists for BA. Varix bleeding is a major complication of end-stage liver disease and must be determined in patients with BA, necessitating routine surveillance using esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD). We attempted to validate criteria to identify BA patients requiring EGD.
METHODS From January 2007 to December 2017, we selected BA patients who underwent Kasai surgery, transient elastography (TE), and EGD at Severance hospital. In total, 190 cases were included; laboratory tests and EGDs were carried out from 3 months before TE to 3 months after TE.
RESULTS Based on the cut-off value (<10) of the liver stiffness measurement (LSM), 35 (81.4%) patients with low-risk varix (LRV) and 8 (18.6%) with high-risk varix (HRV) were identified. Based on platelet counts (>150,000), 87 (77.68%) patients with LRV and 25 (22.32%) with HRV were identified. Based on this, the BAVENO VI criteria, which identify patients who can safely avoid screening EGD, missed 9/68 (13.24%) of HRV patients. The expanded BAVENO VI criteria missed 21/68 (30.88%) of HRV patients. However, the criteria using LSM<10 and platelet count>150,000 missed identifying only 4/68 (5.88%) HRV patients.
CONCLUSIONS The BAVENO criteria may be as useful in children with BA as in adults with liver cirrhosis. Regular laboratory tests, imaging studies, and EGD may avoid missing diagnoses of varices in BA patients. However, LSM<10 and platelet count>150,000 may provide more accurate criteria and help identify patients who does not need endoscopy.

as reported in: Clin Res Hepatol Gastroenterol. 2020 May 13 [Epub ahead of print]