Interobserver variability in transient elastography analysis of patients with chronic hepatitis C

2015 Liver International 35;5 (1533-1539)

BACKGROUND & AIMS: Transient elastography based on liver stiffness measurement is a non-invasive method to assess hepatic fibrosis. However, interobserver variability has led to controversy over its use in fibrosis evaluation. To evaluate the interobserver variation in transient elastography in chronic hepatitis C. METHODS: We performed a cross-sectional study, analysing findings from two experienced operators who each assessed 195 patients by transient elastography on the same day. Liver stiffness measurement used to define fibrosis stages, based on METAVIR score, was: 12.4 kPa as F4. We also assessed interobserver variation in identification of potential oesophageal varices screening based on transient elastography. RESULTS: The interobserver intraclass correlation coefficient was 0.940 (95% CI 0.863-0.967) and measurements made by operators correlated [Spearman's rho = 0.924; P /= 2 and kappa = 0.80 for cirrhosis. Among the 74 patients determined to have cirrhosis by at least one operator, there was considerable discordance in identification of those with indication for oesophageal varices screening (kappa values from 0.13 to 0.61) according to several cut-offs. CONCLUSION: Although a high correlation of liver stiffness measurement between operators, interobserver variability in transient elastography was not negligible. This method should not be used as the only screening tool for oesophageal varices in chronic hepatitis C.

Pubmed : 24684234