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Rev Esp Enferm Dig. 2010 Jul;102(7):426-34.

Hepatic fibrosis in patients with chronic hepatitis C assessed by transient elastography: implications for determining the efficacy of antiviral therapy.

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  • 1Service of Digestive Diseases and CIBERehd, University Hospital La Princesa, Universidad Autónoma, Madrid, Spain.



The efficacy of combination therapy with peginterferon plus ribavirin to eradicate viral infection in patients with chronic hepatitis C (CHC) is well established; moreover, it is able to arrest or even reverse liver fibrosis.


To analyze the measurements of hepatic stiffness as an index of liver fibrosis using transient elastography (TE) in patients who underwent a sustained virological response (SVR) during long-term follow-up; comparing the changes in the severity of fibrosis with non-responders patients.


After hepatic fibrosis was studied in three patients with CHC who underwent a SVR during long-term follow up, a prospective study was initiated in 24 patients with CHC who received combination therapy to compare the evolution of fibrosis in those with SVR and those who were non-responders. The genotype of hepatitis C virus (HCV) and the degree of viremia were determined. METAVIR scoring system was used for liver fibrosis. Hepatic stiffness was measured by TE.


Of the initial three patients pre-treatment liver biopsies revealed active disease and fibrosis (stage 3) in two and mild fibrosis (stage 1) in one. After several years of follow up serum AST/ALT levels were normal and HCV RNA was undetectable in each case; in contrast to the baseline histological assessments of fibrosis, values for hepatic stiffness (3.4-6.9 KPa) were compatible with an absence of any appreciable hepatic fibrosis. In the prospective study, 8 patients underwent a SVR and 16 were non-responders. TE indicated that the severity of hepatic fibrosis in the SVR group improved in 7 (88%) patients, whereas in the non-responder it improved in only 4 (25%) (p < 0.05). The difference between development of severe fibrosis (F > or = 3) in responders and non-responders was not significant (p = 0.23), possibly due to the small sample size.


Regression of hepatic fibrosis appears to be common in patients with CHC who undergo a SVR. TE is a simple non-invasive technique that enables multiple assessments of the severity of hepatic fibrosis to be made efficiently during long-term follow-up of patients with CHC who receive combination antiviral therapy.

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