Background/aims: To describe the prevalence of liver disease in a cohort of 241 cystic fibrosis (CF) patients.
Methods: 241 CF patients were followed-up every 3 months with clinical and biological assessment, and every year with ultrasonography of the liver. The presence of liver disease was studied using a multivariate Cox's regression analysis including variables such as history of meconium ileus, pulmonary function, pancreatic insufficiency and CFTR gene mutations.
Results: The prevalence of liver disease was 18, 29, and 41% after 2, 5 and 12 years, respectively, and did not increase thereafter. In multivariate analysis, the probability of liver disease was independently associated with history of meconium ileus (P = 0.001) and pancreatic insufficiency (P = 0.004). CFTR mutations and severity of pulmonary disease were not associated with liver disease. Cirrhosis occurred in 19 (7.8%) patients at a median age of 10 years, and liver transplantation was required in five patients.
Conclusions: This study shows that CF related-liver disease occurs mainly in the first decade of life with a prevalence of 41% of patients at 12 years of age. A history of meconium ileus and pancreatic insufficiency are predictive of liver disease. Preventive treatment with ursodesoxycholic acid could be considered in patients with meconium ileus.