Elastography assessment in patients with chronic HCV infection

2008 Internal Journal of Clinical Practice 62, 7 (1108-1112)

INTRODUCTION: Liver fibrosis (LB) assessment plays an important role in hepatology. A common characteristic of all chronic liver diseases is the occurrence and progression of fibrosis towards cirrhosis. Besides its plain interest for prognosis purposes, determining the fibrosis reveals the natural history of the disease and the risk factors associated with its progression to guide the antifibrotic action of different treatments. DISCUSSION: Today, in clinical practice there are three available methods for the evaluation of LB. Biopsy, which is still considered as the 'gold standard' method. Serological markers and their mathematical combination are suggested in the last years in alternative to LB. More recently, transient elastography (TE) was proposed. TE is a simple and noninvasive method for measuring liver stiffness. This technique is based on the progression speed of an elastic shear wave within the liver. CONCLUSIONS: Currently, there are just a few studies capable of evaluating the TE effectiveness in chronic liver diseases, mainly in patients infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV). Its application must also be studied in the monitoring of patients suffering from chronic HCV infection and subjected to a treatment that can modify their degree of liver fibrosis. The results of TE must be interpreted according to the clinical background of the specialist.

Pubmed : 18194277