Transient elastography: A non-invasive tool for assessing liver fibrosis in HIV/HCV patients

Valentina Li Vecchi, Maurizio Soresi, Claudia Colomba, Giovanni Mazzola, Pietro Colletti, Maurizio Mineo, Paola di Carlo, Emanuele la Spada, Giovanni Vizzini, Giuseppe Montalto

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AIM: To assess the prevalence of advanced liver fibrosis (ALF) in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis C virus (HCV) and HIV/HCV patients using transient elastography, and to identify factors associated with ALF. METHODS: Between September 2008 and October 2009, 71 HIV mono-infected, 57 HIV/HCV co-infected and 53 HCV mono-infected patients on regular follow-up at our Center were enrolled in this study. Alcohol intake, the main parameters of liver function, presence of HCVRNA, HIV-RNA, duration of highly active anti-retroviral therapy (HAART) and CD4 cell count were recorded. ALF was defined as liver stiffness (LS) ≥ 9.5 kPa. To estimate liver fibrosis (LF) a further 2 reliable biochemical scores, aspartate aminotransferase platelet ratio index (APRI) and FIB-4, were also used. RESULTS: LS values of co-infected patients were higher than in either HIV or HCV mono-infected patients (χ2 MH = 4, P <0.04). In fact, LS ≥ 9.5 was significantly higher in co-infected than in HIV and HCV mono-infected patients (χ2 = 5, P <0.03). Also APRI and the FIB-4 index showed more LF in co-infected than in HIV mono-infected patients (P <0.0001), but not in HCV mono-infected patients. In HIV/HCV co-infected patients, the extent of LS was significantly associated with alcohol intake (P <0.04) and lower CD4+ cell count (P <0.02). In HCV patients, LS was correlated with alcohol intake (P <0.001) and cholesterol levels (P <0.03). Body mass index, diabetes, HCV- and HIV-viremia were not significantly correlated with LS. In addition, 20% of co-infected patients had virologically unsuccessful HAART; in 50% compliance was low, CD4+ levels were <400 cells/mm3 and LS was > 9.5 kPa. There was no significant correlation between extent of LF and HAART exposure or duration of HAART exposure, in particular with specific dideoxynucleoside analogues. CONCLUSION: ALF was more frequent in co-infected than mono-infected patients. This result correlated with lower CD4 levels. Protective immunological effects of HAART on LF progression outweigh its hepatotoxic effects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5225-5232
Number of pages8
JournalWorld Journal of Gastroenterology
Issue number41
Publication statusPublished - Nov 7 2010


  • Aspartate aminotransferase platelet ratio index
  • FIB-4 test
  • Fibrosis evaluation
  • Hepatitis C virus infection
  • Human immunodeficiency virus infection
  • Liver fibrosis
  • Transient elastography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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