Non-invasive evaluation of liver fibrosis using transient elastography

2008 Journal of Hepatology 48, 5 (835-847)

Transient elastography (TE, FibroScan) is a novel non-invasive method that has been proposed for the assessment of hepatic fibrosis in patients with chronic liver diseases, by measuring liver stiffness. TE is a rapid and user-friendly technique that can be easily performed at the bedside or in the outpatient clinic with immediate results and good reproducibility. Limitations include failure in around 5% of cases, mainly in obese patients. So far, TE has been mostly validated in chronic hepatitis C, with diagnostic performance equivalent to that of serum markers for the diagnosis of significant fibrosis. Combining TE with serum markers increases diagnostic accuracy and as a result, liver biopsy could be avoided for initial assessment in most patients with chronic hepatitis C. This strategy warrants further evaluation in other aetiological types of chronic liver diseases. TE appears to be an excellent tool for early detection of cirrhosis and may have prognostic value in this setting. As TE has excellent patient acceptance it could be useful for monitoring fibrosis progression and regression in the individual case, but more data are awaited for this application. Guidelines are needed for the use of TE in clinical practice.

Pubmed : 18334275