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Disease Markers
Volume 31 (2011), Issue 3, Pages 129-138

Non-Invasive Diagnostic and Prognostic Evaluation of Liver Cirrhosis and Portal Hypertension

Annalisa Berzigotti,1,2 Eyal Ashkenazi,1 Enric Reverter,1 Juan G. Abraldes,1 and Jaime Bosch1

1Hepatic Hemodynamic Laboratory, Liver Unit, Institut d'Investigacions Biomediques August Pi i Sunyer (IDIBAPS) and Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Enfermedades Hepáticas y Digestivas (Ciberehd), Barcelona, Spain
2Ultrasound Section, Centre Diagnostic per la Imatge, Hospital Clinic i Provincial, Barcelona, Spain

Received 14 October 2011; Accepted 14 October 2011

Copyright © 2011 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Cirrhosis is the final stage of most of chronic liver diseases, and is almost invariably complicated by portal hypertension, which is the most important cause of morbidity and mortality in these patients. This review will focus on the non-invasive methods currently used in clinical practice for diagnosing liver cirrhosis and portal hypertension. The first-line techniques include physical examination, laboratory parameters, transient elastography and Doppler-US. More sophisticated imaging methods which are less commonly employed are CT scan and MRI, and new technologies which are currently under evaluation are MR elastography and acoustic radiation force imaging (ARFI). Even if none of them can replace the invasive measurement of hepatic venous pressure gradient and the endoscopic screening of gastroesophageal varices, they notably facilitate the clinical management of patients with cirrhosis and portal hypertension, and provide valuable prognostic information.