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Volume 84 - 2021 - Fasc.1 - Georges Brohée Prize

The “Fonds Georges Brohée” : a longstanding Belgian national initiative to stimulate research in hepatogastroenterology

The Fonds Brohée/Brohée fund was created in 1964 at the initiative of 16 Belgian physicians, in the memory of Georges Brohée, the founder of the Belgian Society of Gastroenterology in 1928 and of its Journal in 1933, first published under the name “Le Journal Belge de Gastro-entérologie”, then until today as “Acta Gastro-Enterologica Belgica”. The goal of the Fonds is to stimulate research in the field of gastroenterology in Belgium, by awarding a young researcher (< 40 years) for an outstanding work in the clinical, translational or fundamental setting. Since 1966, 26 remarkable works have been awarded in various areas of interest in gastrointestinal diseases, whether in IBD, functional disorders, digestive oncology and, last but not least, hepatology. Since the recognition of their work, many of the awardees have become recognized for their expertise well beyond Belgium. Hopefully, the Foundation will continue to thrive and flourish after 55 years, as the members of its board and its healthy finances will allow to continue to promote and encourage high-quality research by young hepato-gastroenterologists in Belgium.


Recent advances in the approach to hepatopulmonary syndrome and portopulmonary hypertension

Liver disease, cirrhosis and portal hypertension can be complicated by pulmonary vascular disease, which may affect prognosis and influence liver transplantation (LT) candidacy. Pulmonary vascular complications comprise hepatopulmonary syndrome (HPS) and portopulmonary hypertension (POPH). Although these two conditions develop on a same background and share a common trigger, pulmonary responses are distinct and occur at different anatomical sites of the pulmonary circulation. HPS affects 10-30% of patients referred for LT, and is characterized by gas exchange abnormalities due to pulmonary vasodilation and right-to-left shunting. POPH occurs in 5%, and is defined by pulmonary arterial hypertension due to increased pulmonary vascular resistance, which leads to hemodynamic failure. Even though HPS and POPH may have a substantial negative impact on survival, both entities are clinically underrecognized and frequently misdiagnosed. Without intervention, the 5-year survival rate is 23% in HPS and 14% in POPH. Their presence should be actively sought by organized screening in patients presenting with dyspnea and in all patients on the waitlist for LT, also because clinical symptoms are commonly non-specific or even absent. LT may lead to resolution, however, advanced stages of either HPS or POPH may jeopardize safe and successful LT. This implicates the need of proper identification of HPS and POPH cases, as well as the need to be able to successfully ‘bridge’ patients to LT by medical intervention. A review article on this topic has been published in this journal in 2007 (1). This updated review focuses on recent advances in the diagnosis and management of these 2 liver-induced pulmonary vascular disorders and incorporates results from our recent work.