Try the modernized beta website. Learn more about the modernization effort.
Working… Menu

Natural History of Noncirrhotic Portal Hypertension

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Know the risks and potential benefits of clinical studies and talk to your health care provider before participating. Read our disclaimer for details. Identifier: NCT02417740
Recruitment Status : Recruiting
First Posted : April 16, 2015
Last Update Posted : July 22, 2022
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC) ( National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) )

Brief Summary:


- Noncirrhotic Portal Hypertension (NCPH) is caused by liver diseases that increase pressure in the blood vessels of the liver. It seems to start slowly and not have many warning signs. Many people may not even know that they have a liver disease. There are no specific treatments for NCPH.


- To learn more about how NCPH develops over time.


- People age 12 and older who have NCPH or are at risk for getting it. In the past year, they cannot have had other types of liver disease that typically result in cirrhosis, liver cancer, or active substance abuse.


  • Participants will have 2 screening visits.
  • Visit 1: to see if they have or may develop NCPH.
  • Medical history
  • Physical exam
  • Urine and stool studies
  • Abdominal ultrasound
  • Fibroscan. Sound waves measure liver stiffness.

<TAB>- Visit 2:

  • Blood tests
  • Abdominal MRI
  • Echocardiogram
  • Questionnaire
  • Liver blood vessel pressure (hepatic venous portal gradient (HVPG)) measurement. This is done with a small tube inserted in a neck vein.
  • They may have a liver biopsy.
  • All participants will visit the clinic every 6 months for a history, physical exam, and blood tests. They will also repeat some of the screening tests yearly.
  • Participants with NCPH will also have:
  • Upper endoscopy test. A tube inserted in the mouth goes through the esophagus and stomach.
  • At least every 2 years: Esophagogastroduodenoscopy.
  • At least every 4 years: testing including HVPG measurements and liver biopsy.
  • Participants without NCPH will also have:
  • Liver biopsy and HVPG measurements to see if they have NCPH.
  • Every 2 years: abdominal MRI and stool studies.
  • The study will last indefinitely.

Condition or disease
Cystic Fibrosis Immunologic Deficiency Syndrome Turner Syndrome Congenital Hepatic Fibrosis Idiopathic Non-Cirrhotic Portal Hypertension

Detailed Description:
Noncirrhotic Portal Hypertension (NCPH) includes a spectrum of chronic liver diseases characterized by increased pressure within the portal circulation in the absence of cirrhosis. The complications from NCPH are similar to that of cirrhosis induced portal hypertension which includes the development of gastrointestinal varices, portal hypertensive gastropathy, splenomegaly, sepsis and ascites. However, unlike cirrhosis related portal hypertension, NCPH is characterized by well-preserved hepatic synthetic function. With increasing recognition both of patients with noncirrhotic portal hypertensive liver diseases, and mortality due to NCPH, it is clear that the specific mechanism(s) and the natural history(s) of noncirrhotic portal hypertensive liver disease have yet to be elucidated and described. At the Clinical Center of the NIH, various cohorts of patients have been identified to be at increased risk for the development of noncirrhotic portal hypertensive liver diseases such as those with Cystic Fibrosis (CF), common variable immunodeficiency (CVID), Turner s Syndrome (TS) and congenital hepatic fibrosis (CHF) to name a few. We propose to study individuals with NCPH, and those at risk of developing NCPH within these and other cohorts of patients known to be at risk for NCPH for an indefinite period of time. Through continued evaluation and scientific discovery, our aim is to provide a greater understanding of noncirrhotic portal hypertensive liver diseases and the different underlying biological processes that lead to the development of NCPH. We also aim to further the scant existing knowledge regarding the natural history of this disease and the global phenomenon of portal hypertension. From the data obtained from this natural history protocol, future studies will be planned to evaluate specific hypothesis in specific disease cohorts. Patients with diseases known to cause cirrhosis will be excluded. Patients 12 years of age and older thought to be at risk for the development of NCPH will undergo preliminary testing which includes; History and physical examination, blood, urine and stool tests, radiologic imaging, echocardiogram and fibroscan. Adults and minors who are likely to have NCPH will also undergo transjugular or percutaneous liver biopsy with transjugular hepatic venous gradient measurements and endoscopy. After these evaluations, those without strong evidence of NCPH will be asked to return for biannual clinic visits for updated history and physical assessments. Those with evidence of NCPH will be followed every six months with additional testing that may include imaging and laboratory evaluations. Over time, those individuals that develop NCPH will be converted to the intensive characterization and monitoring schemata as described in the protocol. All patients with NCPH will undergo preventative screening examinations for complications of NCPH. There is no planned treatment for patients with existing or newly diagnosed NCPH, as no such treatment currently exists. Treatment for complications of NCPH will be offered according to the standard of care with referrals as appropriate.

Layout table for study information
Study Type : Observational
Estimated Enrollment : 400 participants
Observational Model: Cohort
Time Perspective: Prospective
Official Title: Natural History of Noncirrhotic Portal Hypertension
Actual Study Start Date : July 27, 2015
Estimated Primary Completion Date : September 4, 2029
Estimated Study Completion Date : September 4, 2029

Adult with absence of Portal Hypertension
Confirmed absence of Portal Hypertension will have no findings suggestive of non cirrhotic portal hypertension on liver biopsy and on portal pressure measurements on confirmatory examination.
Adult with presence of Portal Hypertension
Confirmed Presence of Noncirrhotic Portal Hypertension, through confirmatory testing, tissue diagnosis by liver biopsy and/or portal hypertension (HVPG >5mmHg).
Minors likely to have the absence of Portal Hypertension
Minors identified as Confirmed Absence of Noncirrhotic Portal Hypertension will have no abnormal findings on confirmatory examination.
Minors likely to have the presence of Portal Hypertension
Minors identified as Confirmed Presence of Noncirrhotic Portal Hypertension, have shown they have the disease with a tissue diagnosis by liver biopsy and/or portal hypertension (HVPG >5).

Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. To study the natural history of non cirrhotic portal hypertension. It is an ongoing study. [ Time Frame: Ongoing ]
    natural history study

Information from the National Library of Medicine

Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contacts provided below. For general information, Learn About Clinical Studies.

Layout table for eligibility information
Ages Eligible for Study:   12 Years and older   (Child, Adult, Older Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No
Sampling Method:   Non-Probability Sample
Study Population
Subjects with diagnosis of noncirrhotic portal hypertension above age of 12 years
  • Age 12 years or above, male or female
  • Known diagnosis of NCPH, or to be at the risk for NCPH by virtue of underlying disease processes such as but not limited to; CGD, SCD, Mastocytosis, CVID, CF, and CHF.


  • Evidence of other forms of liver disease that typically result in cirrhosis.
  • Evidence of active chronic Hepatitis B infection as defined by the presence of hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) in serum and elevated HBV DNA (>10,000 IU/mL).
  • Hepatitis C as defined by the presence of hepatitis C RNA in serum.
  • Primary sclerosing cholangitis as defined by liver histology.
  • Primary biliary cirrhosis as defined by cholestasis, +/- antimitochondrial antibody positivity and liver histology.
  • Wilson s disease as defined by ceruloplasmin below the limits of normal and liver histology and urinary copper consistent with Wilson disease.
  • Autoimmune hepatitis as defined by antinuclear antibody (ANA) of 3 EU or greater and liver histology consistent with autoimmune hepatitis or previous response to immunosuppressive therapy for autoimmune hepatitis.
  • Hemochromatosis as defined by presence of 3+ or 4+ stainable iron on liver biopsy or homozygosity for C282Y. Patients with iron saturation indices of >45% and serum ferritin levels of >300 ng/ml for men and >250 ng/ml for women will undergo genetic testing for hemochromatosis.
  • Bile duct obstruction as suggested by imaging studies done within the previous six months.
  • The presence of cirrhosis as demonstrated by liver biopsy.
  • Active substance abuse, such as alcohol, inhaled or injection drugs within the previous one year (assessed during patient interviews by patient self-report).
  • Evidence of hepatocellular carcinoma; either alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) levels greater than 50 ng/ml (normal <6.6ng/ml) and/or ultrasound (or other imaging study) demonstrating a mass suggestive of liver cancer.
  • Evidence of Cholangiocarcinoma as suggested by liver histology.
  • Any other severe condition, which in the opinion of the investigators would impede the patient s participation or compliance in the study.
  • Inability to comply or give written informed consent.

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its identifier (NCT number): NCT02417740

Layout table for location contacts
Contact: Shani C Scott, R.N. (301) 451-6983
Contact: Theo Heller, M.D. (301) 402-7147

Layout table for location information
United States, Maryland
National Institutes of Health Clinical Center Recruiting
Bethesda, Maryland, United States, 20892
Contact: For more information at the NIH Clinical Center contact Office of Patient Recruitment (OPR)    800-411-1222 ext TTY dial 711   
Sponsors and Collaborators
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
Layout table for investigator information
Principal Investigator: Theo Heller, M.D. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
Additional Information:
Layout table for additonal information
Responsible Party: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) Identifier: NCT02417740    
Other Study ID Numbers: 150108
First Posted: April 16, 2015    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: July 22, 2022
Last Verified: July 20, 2022
Individual Participant Data (IPD) Sharing Statement:
Plan to Share IPD: Undecided
Plan Description: .This is a longitudinal study and it is not yet known if and when IPD will be made available.

Layout table for additional information
Studies a U.S. FDA-regulated Drug Product: No
Studies a U.S. FDA-regulated Device Product: No
Keywords provided by National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC) ( National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) ):
Portal Hypertension
Portal Fibrosis
Liver Disease
Natural History
Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Layout table for MeSH terms
Cystic Fibrosis
Hypertension, Portal
Turner Syndrome
Immunologic Deficiency Syndromes
Pathologic Processes
Vascular Diseases
Cardiovascular Diseases
Pancreatic Diseases
Digestive System Diseases
Lung Diseases
Respiratory Tract Diseases
Genetic Diseases, Inborn
Infant, Newborn, Diseases
Liver Diseases
Gonadal Dysgenesis
Disorders of Sex Development
Urogenital Abnormalities
Sex Chromosome Disorders of Sex Development
Heart Defects, Congenital
Cardiovascular Abnormalities
Heart Diseases
Congenital Abnormalities
Sex Chromosome Disorders
Chromosome Disorders
Gonadal Disorders
Endocrine System Diseases