Aspartate Aminotransferase to Platelet Ratio Index Correlates With Hepatic Cirrhosis but Not With Fibrosis in Pediatric Patients With Intestinal Failure

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Background and Objectives:

Patients with intestinal failure (IF) require parenteral nutrition (PN) support to obtain enough nutrients to sustain growth; long-term PN use is associated with significant liver damage. The aim of this study was to analyze the use of a noninvasive test, the aspartate aminotransferase to platelet ratio index (APRI), in the diagnosis of liver disease in pediatric patients with IF.


Medical records of all Boston Children's Hospital patients who received PN and underwent a liver biopsy from January 2006 until November 2010 were reviewed. Patients with IF with a clinical diagnosis were selected. APRI was calculated as (aspartate aminotransferase [U/L]/upper normal limit) × 100/platelets (109 cells/L). Presence of fibrosis and cirrhosis was estimated using the METAVIR score in liver biopsies.


Sixty-two liver biopsies from 48 patients (22 girls) were studied. Mean APRI values in the different METAVIR categories (0–1, 2–3, 4) were 1.80, 1.17, and 4.24, respectively (analysis of variance P = 0.053; Bonferroni test for cirrhosis vs fibrosis P = 0.048). APRI could significantly predict cirrhosis (odds ratio 1.2; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.001–1.43) but not fibrosis (METAVIR 2–3, odds ratio 1.00; 95% CI 0.86–1.18). Area under the receiver operating characteristic curve for cirrhosis was 0.67 (95% CI 0.45–0.89; P = 0.13).


APRI, a noninvasive, easy-to-obtain bedside test, significantly predicts cirrhosis but not fibrosis in pediatric patients with IFALD. Because the clinicians need a noninvasive test to differentiate among different stages of liver fibrosis rather than differentiating cirrhosis from normal, we cannot recommend the use of this test in pediatric patients with IFALD for this purpose.

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