Potential impact of screening for fatty liver disease by transient elastography with liver stiffness and controlled attenuation parameter measurements: a pilot study

2017 Zeitschrift für Gastroenterologie 55;8 (754-760)

Background The prevalence of chronic liver diseases is high in developed countries, and the leading causes are amenable to prevention. The German Lebertag is to increase awareness of the burden of chronic liver diseases in the general public. We performed a pilot study using transient elastography with liver stiffness measurement (LSM) and the controlled attenuation parameter (CAP) as a screening tool for previously unrecognized liver diseases. Patients and methods LSM and CAP was performed in 60 individuals, and participants filled in a questionnaire reporting basic characteristics and past medical history. Results Median LSM and CAP values were within the normal range. Participants with self-reported diabetes mellitus had significantly elevated LSM (p = 0.02) and CAP values (p = 0.002). Participants with a BMI > 30 kg/m2 or dyslipidemia had significantly elevated CAP values (p = 0.007 and p = 0.01, respectively) with normal LSM values. Overall, 35 % of participants had elevated CAP values, indicating a high prevalence of hepatic steatosis. Discussion In a German pilot study, diabetes mellitus was a key risk factor for increased LSM and CAP values. Prevalence of steatosis was high and comparable to other Western countries. Transient elastography is a valuable tool to identify patients with increased risk for metabolic liver diseases. In people without risk factors, LSM and CAP values were within the normal range, indicating that screening for chronic liver injury was not warranted.