[Transient elastography (FibroScan) for the non-invasive assessment of liver fibrosis: current status and perspectives]

2007 Zeitschrift für Gastroenterologie 45, 5 (387-394)

A precise staging of the degree of liver fibrosis is important for the estimation of prognosis, surveillance and treatment decision in patients with chronic liver diseases. At present, liver biopsy is still the reference standard for the assessment of liver fibrosis. However, it is an invasive method associated with patient discomfort and in rare cases with serious complications. In addition, the accuracy of liver biopsy is limited due to intra- and interobserver variability and sampling errors. Non-invasive markers and methods for the assessment of liver fibrosis have been intensively evaluated in many studies. The FibroScan (Echosens, France) uses the transient elastography principle for the measurement of liver stiffness. At present (January 2007), studies evaluating the FibroScan in a wide range of liver diseases have been published in 20 full papers and 76 abstracts. The present review gives an overview of the current literature. The best results are reported for the differentiation between cirrhosis and no cirrhosis. With the combination of FibroScan and non-invasive serum fibrosis markers, the accuracy for the diagnosis of significant fibrosis (Metavir F > or = 2) can be further improved. According to recent data the FibroScan can also be useful for the evaluation of treatment response in patients receiving antiviral treatment for chronic hepatitis C. In addition, several studies have shown, that the FibroScan can be applied to estimate the risk of complications associated with liver cirrhosis.

Pubmed : 17503318