Liver cirrhosis is one of the main causes of death and disability-adjusted life-years worldwide. Generally, cirrhosis develops after a long period of liver-cell injury that leads to the deposition of collagen, leading to progressive fibrosis and nodule formation in the liver tissue. Most patients are diagnosed in late stages when liver decompensation or liver cancer develops. The diagnosis is rarely made in early stages-when liver fibrosis is mild to moderate but cirrhosis is not yet established-because the disease is asymptomatic. No strategies for detection of liver fibrosis at these early stages have been developed, but therapies are more effective in early stages than late stages of chronic liver diseases, so enabling early detection is an important research topic. Non-invasive methods for assessing liver fibrosis have been developed, of which the most commonly used are transient elastography-which estimates liver fibrosis by measuring liver stiffness-and serum biomarkers of fibrosis. Studies have shown that 6-7% of the adult population without known liver disease have liver fibrosis, mostly associated with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. These data suggest that programmes of screening for liver fibrosis in the general population should be assessed.
Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.