Transient Elastography No Substitute for Liver Biopsy

Non-invasive technique useful but not reproducible in certain groups of patients

FRIDAY, July 13 (HealthDay News) -- Transient elastography, a non-invasive technique for predicting liver fibrosis, is very useful in patients with chronic liver disease, but is not sufficiently reproducible to warrant replacement of liver biopsy in patients with certain conditions, according to the results of a study published in the July issue of Gut.

Mirella Fraquelli, M.D., Ph.D., of the Fondazione IRCCS Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico in Milan, Italy, and colleagues conducted a study of 200 patients with chronic liver disease who underwent both transient elastography and liver biopsy.

Of the 800 transient elastography examinations, 2.4 percent yielded an indeterminate result, but patients with a body mass index of more than 25 kg/m2, steatosis or a fibrosis staging grade of less than 2 were more likely to have results that were not easily reproducible.

"In clinical practice, doctors should be aware that interference by necroinflammatory activity and overlap between adjacent stages of hepatic fibrosis may limit the diagnostic accuracy of transient elastography," the authors conclude. "Caution is warranted in the clinical use of transient elastography as a surrogate for liver biopsy."

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