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Clin Mol Hepatol. 2018 Dec;24(4):384-391. doi: 10.3350/cmh.2018.0004. Epub 2018 Jul 4.

Characterization and evaluation of liver fibrosis grade in patients with chronic hepatitis B virus infection and normal transaminases.

Author information

1
Department of Digestive Diseases, Torrecárdenas Hospital, University of Almería, Almería, Spain.
2
Department of Nursing, Physiotherapy and Medicine, University of Almería, Almería, Spain.

Abstract

Backgrounds/Aims:

The objective of our study was to determine the epidemiological, laboratory, and serological characteristics of patients with chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection and normal transaminases. The study also aimed to evaluate liver damage by measuring the liver fibrosis (LF) grade and to identify possible factors associated with the presence of fibrosis.

METHODS:

A retrospective observational study was conducted in patients with chronic HBV infection and classified as inactive carriers or immune-tolerant. Epidemiological variables of age, sex, immigrant, alcohol consumption, and body mass index (BMI), as well as virological variables (HBV DNA) and transaminase level were collected throughout the follow-up. The LF grade was evaluated by transient elastography. The cutoff value for significant fibrosis (SF) was liver stiffness ≥7.9 kPa.

RESULTS:

A total of 214 patients were included in the analysis, and 62% of them had a BMI ≥25 kg/m2 . During follow-up, 4% of patients showed transaminase elevation (<1.5 times normal). Most patients had a viral DNA level <2,000 IU/mL (83%). Data on LF were available in 160 patients; of these, 14% had SF, 9% F3, and 6% F4. The variables associated with the presence of SF were transaminase alteration during follow-up, as 23% of patients with SF had elevated transaminases versus 3% of patients without SF (P<0.005), and BMI, as the vast majority of patients with SF (88%) had a BMI ≥25 kg/m2 versus 56% of patients without SF (P<0.05).

CONCLUSION:

In patients with chronic HBV infection and normal transaminases, liver damage does not seem to be related to DNA levels, alcohol consumption, or immigrant status. SF seems to be associated with transaminase alteration during follow-up and elevated BMI. It is therefore recommended to measure LF grade with validated non-invasive methods in such patients.

KEYWORDS:

Chronic hepatitis B virus infection; Elastography; Hepatitis B e Antigens; Liver fibrosis

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