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Minerva Gastroenterologica e Dietologica 2020 Nov 19

DOI: 10.23736/S1121-421X.20.02777-4

Copyright © 2020 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

The role of elastography in alcoholic liver disease: fibrosis staging and confounding factors. A review of the current literature

Mauro GIUFFRÉ 1, 2 , Michele CAMPIGOTTO 1, Anna COLOMBO 1, Alessia VISINTIN 1, Martina BUDEL 1, Alessandro AVERSANO 1, Luca NAVARRIA 1, Anna PICCIN 1, Carolina A. CAVALLI 1, Riccardo SIGON 1, Fabio TINÉ 3, Cristiana ABAZIA 3, Flora MASUTTI 3, Lory S. CROCÉ 1, 2, 3

1 Department of Medical, Surgical and Health Sciences, University of Trieste, Trieste, Italy; 2 Italian Liver Foundation, Basovizza, Trieste, Italy; 3 Liver Clinic, Azienda Sanitaria Universitaria Giuliano Isontina, Trieste, Italy


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INTRODUCTION: Alcohol-related liver disease (ALD) was estimated to have a prevalence of 2% among the United States population. Since severe fibrosis in compensated patients is the main predictor of long-term survival, it is of utmost importance to early detect patients with severe fibrosis before decompensation occurs. Liver elastography has been used to stage liver fibrosis. However, there is a widespread lack in guidelines for the correct use of liver stiffness (LS) in ALD.
EVIDENCE ACQUISITION: A structured search was carried out on MEDLINE/PubMed database. From the original 225 research articles identified, only 12 studies met the inclusion criteria, with 10 studies being eventually included.
EVIDENCE SYNTHESIS: According to reported data, patients with aspartate aminotransferase (AST) > 100 IU/L and 50 IU/L showed significantly higher values of LS if compared to patients with the same fibrosis stage. Also, excessive alcohol consumption greatly influences elastography, leading to false fibrosis staging. When LS values > 5-6 kPa are detected, several aspects should be taken into account. First of all, the patient should be asked about the current alcohol consumption (i.e., active vs. abstinence, determination of abstinence period, and quantification of alcohol intake), and if the patient is an active drinker, liver elastography can be repeated after a complete abstinence period of at least two weeks. and if the patient is an active drinker, liver elastography can be repeated after a complete abstinence period of at least two weeks. Secondly, clinicians should check liver transaminases level, and if AST are above 100 IU/L, they should be aware of a possible overestimation of fibrosis. However, whether transaminases-adapted cut-off values should be used for ad hoc decisions in patients with no time or option to withdraw from alcohol consumption is still a matter of debate.
CONCLUSIONS: We hope that our review article may serve as a reference point in the prospect of futures guidelines.


KEY WORDS: Liver elastography; Liver stiffness; ALD, alcoholic liver disease; Liver fibrosis

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