Portal vein pressure measurement by means of hepatic vein catheter (LVK) examination via the jugular vein takes place in Austria's largest center for the treatment and care of patients with liver cirrhosis and portal hypertension. With more than 350 hepatic vein catheter examinations and liver biopsies (also via the jugular vein, i.e. "transjugular") per year, the hepatic hemodynamics laboratory is one of the largest of its kind in the world and the second largest center in Europe.
The main clinical task of the laboratory is the determination of the hepatic venous pressure gradient (HVPG) by means of hepatic vein catheterization via the jugular vein in patients with advanced liver disease and obtaining a liver tissue sample in the case of unclear findings.
A hepatic vein catheter measurement is mainly performed in the following clinical situations:
- Diagnosis of portal hypertension in patients with liver cirrhosis.
- Bleeding risk assessment in patients with varices or after variceal bleeding
- Control of drug therapy (beta-blocker response)
- Risk assessment before liver surgery
- Control before and after specific therapies of the underlying liver disease
- Safe extraction of a liver tissue sample (transjugular liver biopsy)
In addition, other special tests can be offered in the hepatic hemodynamics laboratory:
- Transient elastography of the liver (fibroscan (R))
- Right heart catheter examinations (Swan-Ganz catheter)
- Heavy wave elastography of liver and spleen
- ICG clearance