Liver stiffness measurement, using elastography, can independently predict outcomes of patients with chronic liver diseases.
However, there is much variation in reporting and consistency of findings.
Dr Siddharth Singh and colleagues from Minnesota, USA performed a systematic review and meta-analysis to evaluate the association between liver stiffness measurement and outcomes of patients with chronic liver diseases.
The researchers performed a systematic review of the literature, through 2013, for studies that followed up patients with CLDs prospectively for at least 6 months, and reported the association between baseline liver stiffness measurement and subsequent development of decompensated cirrhosis or hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), as well as mortality.
The team included 17 studies, reporting on 7058 patients with chronic liver diseases.
Baseline liver stiffness measurement was associated significantly with risk of hepatic decompensation, HCC, death, or a composite of these outcomes.
|Liver stiffness measurement was associated with risk of death|
|Clinical Gastroenterology & Hepatology|
The researchers observed considerable heterogeneity among studies—primarily in the magnitude of effect, rather than the direction of effect.
This heterogeneity could not be explained by variations in study locations, etiologies and stages of chronic liver diseases, techniques to measure liver stiffness, adjustment for covariates, or method of imputing relationship in the meta-analysis.
Dr Singh's team concludes, "Based on a meta-analysis of cohort studies, the degree of liver stiffness is associated with risk of decompensated cirrhosis, HCC, and death in patients with chronic liver diseases."
"Liver stiffness measurement therefore might be used in risk stratification."