Liver transient elastography (Fibroscan): a place in the management algorithms of chronic viral hepatitis

2010 Antiviral Therapy 15;1 (1-11)

Treatment guidelines are continuously evolving in chronic viral hepatitis, taking into consideration our greater understanding of natural history and therapeutic efficacy and safety. Key in the decision making process is an assessment of liver injury. Traditionally, liver biopsy has provided this information; however, this is an invasive procedure and not completely reliable. Liver transient elastography (Fibroscan) is exciting new technology that allows estimation of hepatic fibrosis through measurement of liver stiffness. It is acceptably accurate, safe, cheap, quick and widely applicable, and can reduce the need for liver biopsy in chronic hepatitis. In chronic hepatitis C, it can identify those most likely to benefit from treatment, as well as those with cirrhosis who require more specific care. In chronic hepatitis B, it could screen groups previously excluded from treatment (normal alanine aminotransferase and low DNA) to identify the subgroup that would benefit from therapy. It cannot replace biopsy in all settings, but it will narrow the group who do require biopsy, and provide information on liver damage in patients for whom biopsy would probably not have been considered.

Pubmed : 20167986