Non-invasive diagnosis and follow-up of chronic infection with hepatitis B virus

Clin Res Hepatol Gastroenterol. 2022 Oct;46(8):101773. doi: 10.1016/j.clinre.2021.101773. Epub 2021 Jul 28.


Diagnosis of chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection, initial staging of infection and monitoring of treated and untreated patients are mainly based on clinical, biological and imaging criteria allowing a complete non-invasive management for the majority of patients. Along to the conventional virological tools, rapid diagnostic tests and blotting paper tests for HBV DNA are validated alternatives. After diagnosis, the initial work-up should include HIV, HCV and HDV serologies, HBeAg status, and HBsAg and HBV DNA quantification. Assessment of severity (inflammation and fibrosis) is based on ALT serum levels and non-invasive evaluation of liver fibrosis by elastography or blood tests, which must be interpreted cautiously using specific cut-offs and taking into account ALT levels. Taken together, these parameters allow disease classification and treatment decision. Decision of hepatocellular carcinoma screening by ultra-sound every six months may be difficult in non-cirrhotic patients and the use of risk-scores such as PAGE-B is encouraged. Chronic HBV infection often has a dynamic and often unpredictable profile and regular monitoring is mandatory. In untreated patients, regular (3-12 months) follow-up should include ALT and HBV DNA serum levels. Periodical HBsAg quantification and non-invasive evaluation of liver fibrosis may refine disease outcome and prognosis. In treated patients, checking efficacy is mainly based on HBV DNA negativity. In patients with advanced fibrosis, evolution of liver stiffness can be useful for portal hypertension evaluation, but its improvement should not be considered to stop hepatocellular carcinoma screening. Finally, new parameters (HBV RNA, HBcrAg) are promising but their use is still restricted for research.

Keywords: ab.

Publication types

  • Practice Guideline

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular*
  • DNA, Viral
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hepatitis B Surface Antigens
  • Hepatitis B e Antigens
  • Hepatitis B virus / genetics
  • Hepatitis B, Chronic* / complications
  • Hepatitis B, Chronic* / diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Liver Cirrhosis / diagnosis
  • Liver Cirrhosis / etiology
  • Liver Neoplasms*
  • Persistent Infection
  • RNA / therapeutic use


  • DNA, Viral
  • Hepatitis B Surface Antigens
  • Hepatitis B e Antigens
  • RNA