In a series of 251 good-risk patients undergoing portal decompression for intrahepatic portal hypertension, one fifth have been found not to have hepatic cirrhosis. Of these, 44 had only minor changes in hepatic architecture, and the clinical features and subsequent course have been compared and contrasted with a group of 201 cirrhotic patients who underwent portal decompression for similar indications.
The degree of portal hypertension was comparable in both groups and it was not possible confidently to differentiate the condition from hepatic cirrhosis on either clinical or biochemical grounds in the individual case.
The histological lesion was not progressive in the non-cirrhotic group and this was reflected in the far better survival of these patients. After five years 83% (30 of 36) of this group were alive compared with 43% (65 of 152) of the cirrhotic patients. After 10 years the cumulative survival was 77% (20 of 26) for those without cirrhosis, contrasted with 22% (19 of 87) for the cirrhotic patients.
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