From the Journals

Spleen/liver stiffness ratio differentiates HCV, ALD



The spleen stiffness (SS) to liver stiffness (LS) ratio was significantly higher in patients with hepatitis C virus infection (HCV) than in patients with alcohol-related liver disease (ALD), according to the results of a multicenter prospective study. In addition, long-term outcome and complications differed dramatically between HCV and ALD. Variceal bleeding was the most common sign of decompensation and cause of death in patients with HCV, while jaundice was the most common sign of decompensation in patients with ALD.

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Omar Elshaarawy, MSc, of the University of Heidelberg (Germany) and colleagues reported on their prospective study of 411 patients with HCV (220 patients) or ALD (191 patients) that were assessed for both LS and SS using the Fibroscan device. They also discussed their retrospective analysis of LS and spleen length (SL) from a separate, retrospective cohort of 449 patients (267 with HCV, 182 with ALD) for whom long-term data on decompensation/death were available.

The researchers found that SS was significantly higher in HCV patients, compared with those with ALD (42.0 vs. 32.6 kPa; P less than .0001), as was SL (15.6 vs. 11.9 cm, P less than .0001); this was despite a lower mean LS in HCV. As a result, the SS/LS ratio and the SL/LS ratio were both significantly higher in HCV (3.8 vs. 1.72 and 1.46 vs. 0.86, P less than .0001) through all fibrosis stages.

They also found that patients with ALD had higher LS values (30.5 vs. 21.3 kPa) and predominantly presented with jaundice (65.2%), with liver failure as the major cause of death (P less than .01). In contrast, in HCV, spleens were larger (17.6 vs. 12.1 cm) while variceal bleeding was the major cause of decompensation (73.2%) and death (P less than .001).

“We have demonstrated the disease-specific differences in SS/LS and SL/LS ratio between HCV and ALD. They underscore the role of the intrahepatic histological site of inflammation/fibrosis. We suggest that the SS/LS ratio could be used to confirm the disease etiology and predict disease-specific complications,” the researchers concluded.

The study was supported by the Dietmar Hopp Foundation. The authors reported they had no conflicts.

SOURCE: Elshaarawy O et al. J Hepatol Reports. 2019 Jun 20. doi: 10.1016/j.jhepr.2019.05.003.

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