Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) encompasses a wide spectrum of clinical conditions, actually representing an emerging disease of great clinical interest.
Currently, its diagnosis requires liver biopsy, an invasive procedure not free from potential complications.
Several non-invasive diagnostic strategies have been proposed as potential diagnostic alternatives, each with different sensitivities and accuracies.
Dr Festi and colleagues from Italy reviewed non-invasive diagnostic parameters and tools for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease diagnosis, and formulated a diagnostic and prognostic algorithm for a better classification of patients.
The research team searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, Web of Science and Scopus for articles and abstracts in English.
The search terms used the terms 'non-alcoholic fatty liver disease' , 'non invasive method' and 'non-alcoholic fatty liver disease ', 'transient elastography' and 'liver fibrosis'.
The team of doctors selected the articles based on their relevancy to the objective of the review.
|Ultrasonography still represents the first-line diagnostic tool for simple liver steatosis|
|Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics|
Ultrasonography still represents the first-line diagnostic tool for simple liver steatosis.
Its sensitivity could be enhanced by the complex biochemical score SteatoTest.
The researchers found that the serum cytokeratin-18 is a promising and accurate non-invasive parameter for the diagnosis of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis.
The staging of liver fibrosis still represents the most important prognostic problem.
The most accurate estimating methods are FibroMeter, FIB-4, Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease fibrosis score and transient elastography.
Dr Festi's team concluded, "Different non-invasive parameters are available for the accurate diagnosis and prognostic stratification of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease which, if employed in a sequential algorithm, may lead to a reduced use of invasive methods, i.e. liver biopsy."