Diagnostic accuracy of FibroScan-AST (FAST) score for the non-invasive identification of patients with fibrotic non-alcoholic steatohepatitis: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Gut. 2023 Jul;72(7):1399-1409. doi: 10.1136/gutjnl-2022-328689. Epub 2023 Jan 4.


Objective: A simple combined score with liver stiffness, controlled attenuation parameter and serum aspartate aminotransferase (AST), the FibroScan-AST (FAST) score, has been proposed to non-invasively identify patients with fibrotic non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of published studies to evaluate the overall diagnostic accuracy of the FAST score in identifying patients with fibrotic NASH.

Design: We systematically searched MEDLINE, Ovid Embase, Scopus and Cochrane Library electronic databases for full-text published articles in any language between 3 February 2020 and 30 April 2022. We included original articles that reported data for the calculation of sensitivity and specificity of the FAST score for identifying adult patients with fibrotic NASH adults, according to previously described rule-out (≤0.35) and rule-in (≥0.67) cut-offs.

Results: We included 12 observational studies for a total of 5835 participants with biopsy-confirmed non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. The pooled prevalence of fibrotic NASH was 28% (95% CI 21% to 34%). The FAST score's pooled sensitivity was 89% (95% CI 82% to 93%), and the pooled specificity was 89% (95% CI 83% to 94%) according to the aforementioned rule-in/rule-out cut-offs. The negative predictive value and positive predictive value of the FAST score were 92% (95% CI 91% to 95%) and 65% (95% CI 53% to 68%), respectively. Subgroup analyses and influential bias analyses did not alter these findings.

Conclusion: The results of our meta-analysis show that the FAST score has a good performance for non-invasive diagnosis of fibrotic NASH. Therefore, this score can be used to efficiently identify patients who should be referred for a conclusive liver biopsy and/or consideration for treatment with emerging pharmacotherapies.

Prospero registration number: CRD42022350945.


Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biopsy
  • Elasticity Imaging Techniques* / methods
  • Fibrosis
  • Humans
  • Liver / diagnostic imaging
  • Liver / pathology
  • Liver Cirrhosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Liver Cirrhosis / etiology
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease* / diagnostic imaging
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease* / epidemiology
  • Sensitivity and Specificity