Purpose: To evaluate the effect of hepatitis activity on liver stiffness measurements and the role of serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) in liver fibrosis staging by MR elastography (MRE).
Materials and methods: We measured liver stiffness (kPa) in 135 patients by MRE and histologically assessed fibrosis and hepatitis activity within 2 months. Stepwise multiple linear regression was performed to determine the maximum adjusted R(2) against liver stiffness, after adjusting for nothing (model 1), ALT/upper limit of normal categories (model 2), and hepatitis activity (A grade) by METAVIR (model 3). Logistic regression was used to identify independent factors associated with pathologically proven cirrhosis.
Results: Platelet count and METAVIR F score were strongly associated with liver stiffness. The adjusted R(2) value of model 3 (0.7026) was higher than those of models 1 (0.6472) and 2 (0.6564), showing that hepatitis activity affected liver stiffness measurement. High ALT levels (odds ratio, 0.0066; P = 0.0003) as well as MRE (odds ratio, 9.91; P < 0.0001) were independently associated with cirrhosis.
Conclusion: Hepatitis activity may be a confounder of liver stiffness measurement during liver fibrosis staging using MRE. MRE can potentially make an overdiagnosis of liver cirrhosis if the patient has high ALT levels.
Keywords: activity of hepatitis; hepatic fibrosis; liver stiffness; magnetic resonance elastography.
© 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.