Noninvasive diagnosis of liver fibrosis by ultrasonic transient elastography (Fibroscan)

2006 European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology 18, 12 (1321-1325)

Methods for diagnosing hepatic fibrosis have progressed significantly over the last few years--notably with the appearance of minimally invasive biological tests (which avoid the need for liver needle biopsy but nevertheless require a blood sample). Hepatic ultrasonic transient elastography (Fibroscan) is a new diagnostic method for hepatic fibrosis: it is totally noninvasive and gives an immediate result. Here, we review the currently available data on the use of the Fibroscan. Today's main field of application is chronic, viral hepatitis C, with areas under the receiver operation characteristic curve of 0.79-0.83, 0.90-0.91 and 0.91-0.97 for the diagnosis of F2, F3 and F4 fibrosis (defined according to the Metavir classification system), respectively. Furthermore, the Fibroscan enables the noninvasive diagnosis of cirrhosis (regardless of the latter's aetiology), with positive and negative predictive values of 70-95% and 77-95%, respectively. Chronic viral hepatitis B, HIV-hepatitis C virus and HIV-hepatitis B virus coinfections, alcohol-related liver diseases and intrahepatic cholestatic diseases are the device's other main fields of application in hepatology. Today, the Fibroscan is a reliable alternative for the noninvasive diagnosis of hepatic fibrosis. Various diagnostic strategies and performing cost/benefit analyses are now necessary, to assess fully the value of hepatic elastography relative to biological tests for hepatic fibrosis.

Pubmed : 17099382