Serum bile acids and oral ursodeoxycholic acid tolerance test in the diagnosis of esophageal varices
The purpose of this study was to compare the endoscopic findings based on the general rules for recording endoscopic findings on esophageal varices by the Japanese Research Society for Portal Hypertension with liver function tests including serum bile acids and bile acid clearance tests in 64 patients with liver cirrhosis. Cases of esophageal varices showed significantly higher serum bile acid levels and greater ICG retention than those without esophageal varices. The oral ursodeoxycholic acid tolerance test was significantly impaired in the group with esophageal varices (p<0.05). In cases with esophageal varices, there was no significant difference in serum bile acid levels between white and blue varix patients, while serum bile acid levels in the red-color sign-positive group were significantly higher than those in the negative group (p<0.01). Serum bile acid levels increased in parallel with the form of varices as reflected by the shape and size of varices and with the location of varices which reflects the longitudinal extent of varices. These results indicate that the impaired clearance of serum bile acids in liver cirrhosis is closely related with the red-color sign on the variceal surface and with the form and location of esophageal varices, which may reflect the grade of portal-systemic shunting.
Key wordsEsophageal varices Liver cirrhosis Serum bile acid Ursodeoxycholic acid
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