OBJECTIVE - Recurrence of hepatitis and progression of fibrosis are major problems in liver transplantation (LT) for patients with hepatitis C. Liver stiffness measurement (LSM) by transient elastography correlates well with histologic liver fibrosis stages in chronic liver diseases. The aim of this study was to evaluate the usefulness of transient elastography for the assessment of fibrosis in patients after living donor LT.
MATERIAL AND METHODS - Seventy-nine patients who visited our institution, and in whom LSM was successfully evaluated, were enrolled in the study. The patients were divided into three groups according to positivity for hepatitis C antibody and hepatitis B surface antigen as the hepatitis C virus (HCV) group (n=37), the hepatitis B virus (HBV) group (n=10), and the NBNC (negative for both hepatitis B and C) group (n=32). The correlation between LSM and histologic fibrosis stage was assessed in 36 patients. LSM was also compared with regard to the effect of interferon therapy in HCV patients.
RESULTS - The median value for liver stiffness was 6.8 kPa and the median time from LT was 3.1 years. In patients who underwent liver biopsy, stiffness was significantly correlated with the stages of fibrosis (p<0.001, rho = 0.848). In patients who received interferon therapy after LT, the LSM decreased over time in those with a sustained virological response, whereas LSM increased in patients without a response.
CONCLUSION - Transient elastography may be an appropriate non-invasive procedure to sequentially assess the progression of liver fibrosis in patients after LT.