Transient elastography for the assessment of liver fibrosis in patients with chronic viral hepatitis: the missing tool?

2009 Digestive & Liver Disease 41;12 (863-866)

The fibrogenic evolution of chronic viral hepatitis B and C towards cirrhosis represents a key issue in clinical Hepatology whose monitoring still relies on liver biopsy and consequent histopathological staging. In the last decade, non-invasive methodologies have been proposed to predict the presence of fibrosis in chronic liver disease. Most of these methods are based on algorithms, including biochemical parameters, which have demonstrated an acceptable diagnostic accuracy towards the two extremities of the fibrogenetic process. The introduction of transient elastography has represented a further advancement in clinical Hepatology and it seems that the combination of different non-invasive methodologies will provide an improvement in the clinical management of disease progression in viral chronic hepatitis. Studies, conducted especially in chronic viral hepatitis C, suggest that transient elastography is a useful technique for the detection of severe fibrosis-cirrhosis and for the exclusion of significant fibrosis (>or=F2), that could be employed as "diagnostic discriminator" for establishing clinical priorities and reducing the number of liver biopsies. This review article will focus on the clinical utility of this novel methodology for the assessment of liver fibrosis in chronic viral hepatitis and will highlight potential further advantages.

Pubmed : 19482565