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Liver Int. 2006 Sep;26(7):840-5.

The AST/ALT ratio as an indicator of cirrhosis in patients with PBC.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, The Sahlgrenska Academy at Göteborg University, Göteborg, Sweden.



A non-invasive, simple and non-expensive test to predict cirrhosis would be highly desirable. The aspartate aminotransferase/alanine aminotransferase (AST/ALT) ratio has been proven to be such an indicator of cirrhosis in alcoholic liver disease, hepatitis C.


To test whether the AST/ALT ratio is a marker of cirrhosis also in patients with primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC).


The study consisted of 160 patients. In 126 patients, we had clinical and laboratory data at the time of diagnosis and follow-up with outcome: liver-related death, liver transplantation and survival. In 121 patients, we had laboratory data and liver histology.


We found that the AST/ALT ratio was significantly higher in cirrhotic patients than in non-cirrhotic patients. A high AST/ALT ratio was significantly associated with esophageal varices and ascites. In a multivariate analysis, bilirubin and ALP were predictors of poor prognosis.


The AST/ALT ratio seems to be of clinical value as a hint to the diagnosis of cirrhosis in patients with PBC but not as a prognostic factor.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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