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Gastrointest Endosc. 1996 Jun;43(6):568-71.

The role of laparoscopy in the diagnosis of cirrhosis.

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  • 1Division of Hepatology, University of Miami School of Medicine, Florida, USA.



A definitive diagnosis of cirrhosis is important in the prognosis and management of patients with chronic liver disease. The diagnosis of cirrhosis is made either by histologic examination of a biopsy specimen or upon visualization of a diffusely nodular and firm surface of the liver at laparotomy or laparoscopy. A liver biopsy, however, may not demonstrate the histologic features of cirrhosis in some cirrhotic patients. Our goal in this study was to compare the accuracy of liver descriptions made during laparoscopy with liver histology found by laparoscopic biopsy in patients with chronic liver disease.


A retrospective review of paired laparoscopy and histology reports was performed on 434 consecutive patients who underwent laparoscopy between 1992 and 1994. (M:F ratio, 1.3:1; mean age, 48 +/- 14 years).


52% hepatitis C, 8% hepatitis B, 8% fatty liver, 4% primary biliary cirrhosis, 3% autoimmune hepatitis, and 25% miscellaneous (cancer patients were excluded).


One hundred sixty-nine patients had laparoscopic evidence of cirrhosis; 115 were confirmed by histology, representing a 32% sampling error. Two of 265 patients with histologic evidence of cirrhosis (0.8%) had no macroscopic evidence of cirrhosis at laparoscopy.


(1) There was a 32% histologic sampling error among patients documented to have cirrhosis by laparoscopy. (2) Using laparoscopy as a gold standard, the sensitivity of liver biopsy was 68% and the specificity was 99%.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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