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J Hepatol. 2005 Sep;43(3):381-7.

Experts' opinions on the role of liver biopsy in HCV infection: a Delphi survey by the Italian Association of Hospital Gastroenterologists (A.I.G.O.).

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1
Division of Gastroenterology, University of Palermo, A.O.U.P. Piazza delle Cliniche, 2, 90127, Palermo, Italy. palmasio@unipa.it

Abstract

BACKGROUND/AIMS:

Liver biopsy represents the gold standard to establish a diagnosis in all liver patients, but its current position in chronic viral hepatitis is questioned. We aimed to create a consensus on best practice of use of liver biopsy in the management of chronic HCV infection.

METHODS:

We applied the Delphi method to 12 clinical scenarios of chronic HCV infection, to assess the extent of agreement (consensus measurement) and to resolve disagreement (consensus development) on the appropriateness of liver biopsy.

RESULTS:

Among 108 chosen hepatologists, 61 (56.5%) accepted to participate to the first-round survey. In four patients the majority of experts (from 61.4 to 86.2%) agreed not to perform liver biopsy; in two cases an equivalent opinion was found, and in the remaining six scenarios the majority of experts would have recommended a biopsy. No expert recommended liver biopsy in all cases, while most agreed for an histological evaluation of 4 to 8 cases. At the second round, 36 experts (59%) submitted ballots. Fifty-four out of 431 (12.6%) original judgments were changed with equal distribution among different scenarios.

CONCLUSIONS:

Our survey showed a great divergence of management of similar patients and should provide a stimulus for an evidence-based evaluation of liver histology in chronic HCV infection.

PMID:
16006002
DOI:
10.1016/j.jhep.2005.02.041
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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