A Scoring System for Predicting Significant Fibrosis in Chronic Hepatitis B Patients With Normal or Mildly Elevated Alanine Aminotransferase Levels

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Abstract

Background/Aim:

We aimed to develop a clinically useful scoring system to predict the probability of significant fibrosis (the Scheuer score ≥S2) in patients with chronic hepatitis B infection (CHB) and alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels 2-fold lower than the upper limit of normal (ULN), in order to facilitate the clinical decision to perform a subsequent liver biopsy.

Methods:

Consecutive subjects who underwent percutaneous liver biopsy were examined. The predictors evaluated included demographic, clinical, and laboratory variables. A clinical scoring system was developed by rounding the estimated regression coefficients for the independent predictors in multivariate logistic models for the diagnosis of significant fibrosis.

Results:

A total of 283 patients with ALT levels 2-fold lower than the ULN were divided into 2 groups to develop (n=190) and validate (n=93) the scoring system. Of the 190 subjects examined, 52 (27.4%) had significant fibrosis. Aspartate transferase levels, platelet counts, and hepatitis B surface antigen levels were independently associated with significant liver fibrosis. A fibrosis clinical scoring system comprising these 3 variables in CHB patients with ALT levels 2-fold lower than the ULN was developed to predict the probability of significant fibrosis in 4 categories (low, intermediate, high, and very high risk).

Conclusions:

The proposed fibrosis scoring system predicted the probability of significant fibrosis in CHB patients with ALT levels 2-fold lower than the ULN with sufficient accuracy. It identified individuals with a very high risk for significant fibrosis in whom liver biopsy would most likely yield a diagnostic benefit. It also identified individuals with a low risk of moderate fibrosis in whom a liver biopsy can be delayed or avoided.

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