Serial Liver Stiffness Measurements and Monitoring of Liver-Transplanted Patients in a Real-Life Clinical Practice

2016 Hepatitis Monthly 16;12 (e41162)

BACKGROUND: Liver transplanted patients need close surveillance for early signs of graft disease. OBJECTIVES: Transient elastography can safely be repeated over time, offering serial liver stiffness measurement values. Serial stiffness measurements were compared to single baseline stiffness measurements in predicting the appearance of liver-related clinical events and guiding subsequent clinical decisions. METHODS: One hundred and sixty liver transplanted patients were observed for three years in our real-life practice. RESULTS: Liver stiffness measurements were stable in 75% of patients, decreased in 4% of patients, and increased in 21% of patients. The pattern of increased stiffness measurements was associated with both HCV-RNA positive status and the presence of an active biliary complication of liver transplantation and was more predictive of a clinically significant event resulting from any disease of the transplanted liver when compared to a stable pattern or to a single liver stiffness measurement. The procedures that were consequently performed were often diagnostic for unexpected situations, both in HCV-RNA positive and HCV-RNA negative patients. CONCLUSIONS: The pattern of longitudinally increased liver stiffness measurements efficiently supported clinical decisions for individualized management strategies. Repeated transient elastography in real-life clinical practice appears to have a practical role in monitoring liver transplanted patients.

Pubmed : 28123442