Assessment of liver fibrosis in co-infected patients

2006 Journal of Hepatology 44, 1 Suppl (S126-131)

The evaluation of liver injury in HIV patients co-infected with HBV and HCV should follow the same principles as the evaluation of any patient with chronic liver disease. The initial clinical evaluation should include documentation of risk factors for progressive disease. HIV history is important particularly with respect to a past history of significant or prolonged immunosuppression as this has been clinically correlated with more advanced liver disease. Liver transaminases are an important predictor of disease severity and progression in HIV patients. Liver biopsy has remained the 'gold standard' for the grading of inflammation and staging of disease. We would still recommend liver biopsy in HIV patients particularly those with HCV because recent community-based studies in the HAART era have suggested slower rates of progression for HIV/HCV than studies from tertiary care centres and older cohorts. Since, liver biopsy is invasive and expensive, non-invasive techniques including serological tests and novel imaging techniques have evolved to stage liver fibrosis. A novel technique for measuring hepatic elasticity has recently been validated alone and in combination with serum markers for HCV mono-infection. Future trends for staging liver disease must not only focus on cross sectional diagnosis but on utilizing novel techniques to stratify risk for disease progression over time.

Pubmed : 16352364