With great interest, we read the publication by Bettinger et al. who reported a newly developed prognostic score for patients after transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS) – the Freiburg index for post TIPS survival (FIPS).
In their multicenter cohort, the FIPS score showed a better survival prediction after TIPS implantation than widely known and used prognostic scores, namely the Child-Pugh and model for end-stage liver disease (MELD) score. When Kraglund et al. tried to validate the FIPS score in an independent patient cohort of 104 patients,
- Bettinger D.
- Sturm L.
- Pfaff L.
- Hahn F.
- Kloeckner R.
- Volkwein L.
- et al.
Refining prediction of survival after TIPS with the novel Freiburg index of post-TIPS survival.
J Hepatol. 2021; 74: 1362-1372
the Child-Pugh was not inferior for prognostication than the MELD and FIPS score. To assess this discrepancy, we retrospectively analyzed data on 104 patients who underwent TIPS implantation at our liver center between 2015 and 2020 (using the same in-/exclusion criteria as described in the original publication), and calculated c-indices for the MELD, Child-Pugh and FIPS score using the Harrell’s c-index. Alcohol-related cirrhosis was the predominant etiology of chronic liver diseases (n = 60; 57.7%), followed by non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD; n = 9; 8.7%), viral cirrhosis (n = 8; 7.7%) and others (25.9%). The median age of our patient cohort was 59.0 years (IQR 52.3–65.0) and 58.7% (n =61) were male. Median MELD score was 14 (IQR 10.3–18.8), with 19 patients being classified as Child-Pugh A (18.3%), 66 patients Child-Pugh B (63.5%), and 19 patients Child-Pugh C (18.3%). Thus, our cohort is comparable to the original cohort described by Bettinger et al., except for a higher percentage of patients with NAFLD in our center (8.7 vs. 2.5%). Survival at our center was 77.9% (23 deaths) after 3 months and 75.0% (26 deaths) after 6 months. In contrast to Kraglund et al., our cohort had a relatively high number of patients with a FIPS score of ≥0.92 (14.4%); 11 of these patients died within the first 6 months (73.3%).
- Kraglund F.
- Gantzel R.H.
- Jepsen P.
- Aagaard N.K.
External validation of the freiburg index of post-TIPS survival.
J Hepatol. 2021;
Analysis of our TIPS cohort revealed that the Child-Pugh score achieved the highest prognostic accuracy in comparison to the FIPS and MELD score for predicting the 3- and 6-month mortality. C-indices of the Child-Pugh score were 0.779 (95% CI 0.691–0.868) and 0.753 (0.664–0.843) for 3- and 6- month survival. Our results closely resemble findings from Kraglund et al., who reported c-indices of 0.75 (0.56–0.94) and 0.72 (0.54–0.90) for the Child-Pugh score. In line with the findings of Kraglund et al., the c-indices of the Child-Pugh score, FIPS and MELD score were not significantly different (Table 1).
Table 1Statistical performance of FIPS, MELD and Child-Pugh scores to discriminate survivors vs. non-survivors in our cohort of 104 patients undergoing TIPS procedure at the Charité University Medical Center in Berlin.
|FIPS c index (95% CI)||MELD c index (95% CI)||Child-Pugh c index (95% CI)|
p values vs. FIPS
|0.705 (0.581–0.830)||0.706 (0.580–0.832)|
p values vs. FIPS
|0.692 (0.573–0.810)||0.692 (0.573–0.811)|
FIPS, Freiburg index of post-TIPS survival; MELD, model for end-stage liver disease; TIPS, transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt.
One of the biggest practical advantages of the Child-Pugh score is that it is easy to assess in a clinical setting. Another particularity of the Child-Pugh score is that it combines laboratory and clinical parameters, while the MELD and FIPS score solely include laboratory parameters and age. The good prognostic capacity of the Child-Pugh score (also for prognosis after TIPS implantation) was validated multiple times before in the literature, e.g. by an Austrian working group in 2003.
In general, risk prediction models do not only require internal but also external validations. In external validations, these models often show a poorer performance and in these cases the models should consequently be modified to improve their performance.
- Angermayr B.
- Cejna M.
- Karnel F.
- Gschwantler M.
- Koenig F.
- Pidlich J.
- et al.
Child-Pugh versus MELD score in predicting survival in patients undergoing transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt.
Gut. 2003; 52: 879-885
Regarding the FIPS score, 2 external validations (Aarhus and Berlin) could not confirm a better performance of FIPS compared to the Child-Pugh or MELD score. This could be related to the fact that the Child-Pugh score considers clinical parameters as well. Therefore, a multicenter approach should be conducted to develop an improved “FIPS 2.0” score, potentially by combining clinical parameters with prognostic laboratory parameters. The predictive power of an improved FIPS score should then be prospectively validated in a multicenter setting, in order to demonstrate that such an algorithm would be more useful than a “back to basics” approach using the Child-Pugh score.
- Moons K.G.
- Kengne A.P.
- Grobbee D.E.
- Royston P.
- Vergouwe Y.
- Altman D.G.
- et al.
Risk prediction models: II. External validation, model updating, and impact assessment.
Heart. 2012; 98: 691-698
The authors received no financial support to produce this manuscript.
All authors contributed to the study and the final manuscript. JP collected the data, carried out the formal analyses and wrote the original draft.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare no conflicts of interest that pertain to this work.
Please refer to the accompanying ICMJE disclosure forms for further details.
The following is the supplementary data to this article:
- Multimedia component 1
- Refining prediction of survival after TIPS with the novel Freiburg index of post-TIPS survival.J Hepatol. 2021; 74: 1362-1372
- External validation of the freiburg index of post-TIPS survival.J Hepatol. 2021;
- Child-Pugh versus MELD score in predicting survival in patients undergoing transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt.Gut. 2003; 52: 879-885
- Risk prediction models: II. External validation, model updating, and impact assessment.Heart. 2012; 98: 691-698
Published online: July 12, 2021
Accepted: July 1, 2021
Received: June 22, 2021
© 2021 European Association for the Study of the Liver. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.