Dynamics in Liver Stiffness Measurements Predict Outcomes in Advanced Chronic Liver Disease

Gastroenterology. 2023 Oct;165(4):1041-1052. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2023.06.030. Epub 2023 Jul 11.


Background & aims: Liver stiffness measurements (LSMs) provide an opportunity to monitor liver disease progression and regression noninvasively. We aimed to determine the prognostic relevance of LSM dynamics over time for liver-related events and death in patients with chronic liver disease.

Methods: Patients with chronic liver disease undergoing 2 or more reliable LSMs at least 180 days apart were included in this retrospective cohort study and stratified at baseline (BL) as nonadvanced chronic liver disease (non-ACLD, BL-LSM < 10 kPa), compensated ACLD (cACLD; BL-LSM ≥ 10 kPa), and decompensated ACLD. Data on all consecutive LSMs and clinical outcomes were collected.

Results: There were 2508 patients with 8561 reliable LSMs (3 per patient; interquartile range, 2-4) included: 1647 (65.7%) with non-ACLD, 757 (30.2%) with cACLD, and 104 (4.1%) with decompensated ACLD. Seven non-ACLD patients (0.4%) and 83 patients with cACLD (10.9%) developed hepatic decompensation (median follow-up, 71 months). A 20% increase in LSM at any time was associated with an approximately 50% increased risk of hepatic decompensation (hazard ratio, 1.58; 95% CI, 1.41-1.79; P < .001) and liver-related death (hazard ratio, 1.45; 95% CI, 1.28-1.68; P < .001) in patients with cACLD. LSM dynamics yielded a high accuracy to predict hepatic decompensation in the following 12 months (area under the receiver operating characteristics curve = 0.933). The performance of LSM dynamics was numerically better than dynamics in Fibrosis-4 score (0.873), Model for End-Stage Liver Disease (0.835), and single time-point LSM (BL-LSM: 0.846; second LSM: 0.880). Any LSM decrease to <20 kPa identified patients with cACLD with a substantially lower risk of hepatic decompensation (hazard ratio, 0.13; 95% CI, 0.07-0.24). If reliable, LSM also confers prognostic information in decompensated ACLD.

Conclusions: Repeating LSM enables an individual and updated risk assessment for decompensation and liver-related mortality in ACLD.

Keywords: ACLD; Cirrhosis; LSM; Vibration-Controlled Transient Elastography.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Elasticity Imaging Techniques*
  • End Stage Liver Disease* / complications
  • Humans
  • Liver / diagnostic imaging
  • Liver / pathology
  • Liver Cirrhosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Liver Cirrhosis / etiology
  • Liver Diseases* / pathology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Severity of Illness Index