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World J Gastroenterol. 2014 Dec 28;20(48):18131-50. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v20.i48.18131.

Non invasive tools for the diagnosis of liver cirrhosis.

Author information

1
Maurizio Soresi, Lydia Giannitrapani, Anna Licata, Giuseppe Montalto, Unit of Internal Medicine, Biomedical Department of Internal Medicine and Specialties DiBiMIS, University of Palermo, 90127 Palermo, Italy.

Abstract

Liver cirrhosis (LC), the end stage of many forms of chronic hepatitis of different etiologies is a diffuse process characterized by fibrosis and the conversion of normal liver architecture into structurally abnormal nodules surrounded by annular fibrosis. This chronic progressive clinical condition, leads to liver cell failure and portal hypertension, which can favour the onset of hepatocellular carcinoma. Defining the phase of the natural history is crucial for therapeutic choice and prognosis. Liver biopsy is currently considered the best available standard of reference but it has some limits, so alternative tools have been developed to substitute liver biopsy when assessing liver fibrosis. Serum markers offer a cost-effective alternative to liver biopsy being less invasive and theoretically without complications. They can be classified into direct and indirect markers which may be used alone or in combination to produce composite scores. Diagnostic imaging includes a number of instruments and techniques to estimate liver fibrosis and cirrhosis like ultrasound (US), US Doppler, contrast enhanced US and Elastography. US could be used for the diagnosis of advanced LC while is not able to evaluate progression of fibrosis, in this case Elastography is more reliable. This review aims to revise the most recent data from the literature about non invasive methods useful in defining liver fibrosis.

KEYWORDS:

Elastography; Liver biopsy; Liver fibrosis; Serum markers; Ultrasound

PMID:
25561782
PMCID:
PMC4277952
DOI:
10.3748/wjg.v20.i48.18131
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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