Non–invasive assessment of liver fibrosis in patients after the Fontan operation

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Background:This study analyzed the change in liver fibrosis markers after the Fontan operation and investigated their clinical usefulness as an index of congestive liver fibrosis.Methods:The study enrolled 24 patients who underwent the Fontan operation between January 1994 and December 2008. We subdivided the postoperative period into four intervals and then compared the hepatological markers during each. Eighteen patients underwent postoperative cardiac catheterization and the correlation between hepatological markers and the inferior vena cava (IVC) pressure was analyzed.Results:The mean age of the patients was 138.6 months and the mean interval between the Fontan operation and the examination was 97.8 months. Type IV collagen was extremely high in every interval (I, 286 ± 93; II, 265 ± 93; III, 305 ± 143; IV, 206 ± 70), while none of the laboratory variables changed significantly in each interval. A significant positive correlation was observed between type IV collagen and the IVC pressure, but no significant correlation with any other hepatological marker was detected.Conclusions:No specific parameter that reflects the progress in liver fibrosis was identified in this study. The possibility exists that type IV collagen reflects the degree of hepatic congestion.

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