Assessment of transient elastography (FibroScan) for diagnosis of fibrosis in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Caspian J Intern Med. 2016 Fall;7(4):242-252.


Background: Transient elastography (TE) is a new modality for the diagnosis of liver fibrosis caused by various etiologies. This study was conducted to determine the accuracy of TE in detecting the different stages of liver fibrosis in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) patients.

Methods: MEDLINE/PubMed, Embase, Ovid, Cochrane Library, American College of Physicians (ACP) Journal Club, Google Scholar, Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects, and Web of Science that evaluated the liver stiffness by means of TE and liver biopsy were enrolled in this systematic review and meta-analysis. Published articles were extracted from 2002 to March 2015.

Results: A total of 7 articles from 114 papers were included which consisted of 698 patients. The results indicated that when F ≥3, the outcomes were 93.7% (95% confidence interval (CI): 92-95.5), 91.1% (95% CI: 89-93.2), 82.4% (95% CI: 79.9-84.9), and 95.9% (95% CI: 94.4-97.4) for sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV) and negative predictive value (NPV), respectively. With fibrosis stage ≥4, it has reached the sensitivity of 96.2 % (95% CI: 94.5-97.8), a specificity of 92.2% (95% CI: 89.9-94.6), a PPV of 5.5% (95% CI: 51.2-59.8) and NPV of 98.5% (95% CI: 97.4-99.5).

Conclusion: We concluded that as the pathological fibrosis increases, the sensitivity, specificity and NPV of TE in the diagnosis of fibrosis improves in NAFLD patients. TE can be considered as a unique alternative instead of liver biopsy in NAFLD patients and it has an important role in the exclusion of liver cirrhosis. More studies are required to confirm the results.

Keywords: Fibro scan; Fibrosis; Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease; Transient elastography.