Published online Nov 27, 2019. doi: 10.4254/wjh.v11.i11.725
Peer-review started: May 10, 2019
First decision: July 4, 2019
Revised: August 22, 2019
Accepted: October 15, 2019
Article in press: October 15, 2019
Published online: November 27, 2019
Gastrointestinal symptoms are prevalent in patients with cirrhosis. Cirrhotic patients have a known predilection to delayed gastric emptying compared to those without cirrhosis. However, the contributing factors have not been fully elucidated. Retained gastric food on esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) has been used as a surrogate marker for delayed gastric emptying with reasonably high specificity. Therefore, we hypothesize that the frequency of retained gastric food contents at EGD will be higher in a cirrhotic population compared to a control population without liver disease. Additionally, we hypothesize that increased frequency of gastric food contents will be associated with increased severity of cirrhosis.
To determine the relative frequency of delayed gastric emptying among cirrhotics as compared to non-cirrhotics and to identify associated factors.
We performed a retrospective case-control study of cirrhotic subjects who underwent EGD at an academic medical center between 2000 and 2015. Three hundred sixty-four patients with confirmed cirrhosis, who underwent a total of 1044 EGDs for the indication of esophageal variceal screening or surveillance, were identified. During the same period, 519 control patients without liver disease, who underwent a total of 881 EGDs for the indication of anemia, were identified. The presence of retained food on EGD was used as a surrogate for delayed gastric emptying. The relative frequency of delayed gastric emptying among cirrhotics was compared to non-cirrhotics. Characteristics of patients with and without retained food on EGD were compared using univariable and multivariable logistic regression analysis to identify associated factors.
Overall, 40 (4.5%) patients had evidence of retained food on EGD. Cirrhotics were more likely to have retained food on EGD than non-cirrhotics (9.1% vs 1.4%, P < 0.001). Characteristics associated with retained food on univariable analysis included age less than 60 years (12.6% vs 5.2%, P = 0.015), opioid use (P = 0.004), Child-Pugh class C (24.1% Child-Pugh class C vs 6.4% Child-Pugh class A, P = 0.007), and lower platelet count (P = 0.027). On multivariate logistic regression analysis, in addition to the presence of cirrhosis (adjusted OR = 5.83; 95%CI: 2.32-14.7, P < 0.001), diabetes mellitus (types 1 and 2 combined) (OR = 2.34; 95%CI: 1.08-5.06, P = 0.031), opioid use (OR = 3.08; 95%CI: 1.29-7.34, P = 0.011), and Child-Pugh class C (OR = 4.29; 95%CI: 1.43-12.9, P = 0.01) were also associated with a higher likelihood of food retention on EGD.
Cirrhotics have a higher frequency of retained food at EGD than non-cirrhotics. Decompensated cirrhosis, defined by Child-Pugh class C, is associated with a higher likelihood of delayed gastric emptying.
Core tip: This is the first study to describe the frequency of retained gastric food contents on esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) in a cirrhotic population. Our study reveals that cirrhotic patients are five times more likely to have retained food on EGD than controls. Additionally, this study investigates risk factors for gastric food retention in cirrhosis. Associated factors include age younger than 60, diabetes mellitus, opioid use, thrombocytopenia, and higher Child-Pugh class. A novel finding is the fact that gastric retention is associated with decompensated cirrhosis, as can be elucidated from the association with thrombocytopenia and higher Child-Pugh class.