Background: Hepatic arterial Doppler sonography is increasingly being used in liver diagnostics. The determinants of the elevation of hepatic artery impedance indexes in chronic liver disease, however, have still not been fully clarified. The aim of the present study was to investigate the relationship between histological alterations and liver circulation in chronic hepatitis.
Methods: Hepatic artery resistance index and portal flow velocity were measured using Doppler sonography in 47 patients with chronic hepatitis of viral origin diagnosed at histopathology. The patients were divided into two groups, those with mild and those with severe alterations, in accordance with the various histological parameters of the Knodell scoring system.
Results: Hepatic artery resistance index and age were higher in patients with more severe liver fibrosis (respectively 0.638 +/- 0.084 and 39.0 +/- 10.9 (years) in mild fibrosis versus 0.687 +/- 0.060 and 49.4 +/- 14.4 (years) in severe fibrosis; P < 0.05 for both), whereas no difference between the two groups was found for the other histological features (degeneration, inflammation and necrosis), nor for portal flow velocity.
Conclusions: The increase in hepatic artery resistance index appears to be influenced by the extent of fibrous tissue deposition in the liver, determined by chronic inflammation and repair and, secondly, by ageing.