Previously unrecognized advanced liver disease unveiled by transient elastography in patients with Haemophilia and chronic hepatitis C

B K Moessner, E S Andersen, N Weis, A L Laursen, J Ingerslev, S Lethagen, C Pedersen, P B Christensen
Haemophilia: the Official Journal of the World Federation of Hemophilia 2011, 17 (6): 938-43
Before the introduction of viral inactivation procedures and viral screening of plasma-products, haemophiliacs were at high risk of infection with HCV. Those who acquired HCV infection in the 1980s, and are still alive today, may have developed significant liver fibrosis or cirrhosis. However, liver biopsy has not routinely been utilized in the evaluation of haemophiliacs with HCV in Denmark. The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence of significant fibrosis/cirrhosis among haemophiliacs as evaluated by transient elastography (TE). Cross-sectional investigation of adult patients with haemophilia A or B. TE with liver stiffness measurements (LSM) ≥ 8 kPa were repeated after 4-6 weeks. Significant fibrosis and cirrhosis was defined as measurements ≥ 8 kPa or ≥ 12 kPa respectively. Among 307 patients with haemophilia A or B registered at the two Haemophilia centres, 141(46%) participate in this study. Forty (28.4%) had chronic hepatitis C, 33 (23.4%) past hepatitis C and 68 (48.2%) had never been infected, at screening LSM ≥ 8 kPa were found in 45.7%, 24.7% and 4.6% respectively. Among patients with chronic hepatitis C significant fibrosis was confirmed in 17.1% and cirrhosis in 2.9% by repeated LSM ≥ 8 and ≥ 12 kPa respectively. The median TE-value in never HCV-infected haemophiliacs was comparable with what has been found in healthy non-haemophiliacs. In Danish haemophiliacs where liver biopsy has not routinely been used for assessing severity of liver fibrosis, LSM identified advanced liver disease in one-fifth of cases that had not been recognized during clinical follow-up.

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