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The non-invasive evaluation of liver involvement in patients with cystic fibrosis: a prospective study

Title: The non-invasive evaluation of liver involvement in patients with cystic fibrosis: a prospective study

Source: Liver International 2023, Sept 19. [E-publication]

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Date of publication: September 2023

Publication type: Article

Abstract: Background and aims: Porto-sinusoidal vascular disease (PSVD) has been described as the prominent pathology in liver explants of patients with cystic fibrosis (CF), but data outside the transplant setting are lacking. We aimed to investigate the prevalence of portal hypertension (PH) in CF-associated liver disease (CFLD) and develop an algorithm to classify liver involvement in CF patients.

Methods: This is a cross-sectional study of consecutive paediatric and adult patients in a tertiary centre between 2018 and 2019, who underwent ultrasound, liver (LSM) and spleen stiffness (SSM) measurement. CFLD was defined according to physical examination, liver tests and ultrasound findings. PSVD was likely if there were PH signs in the absence of advanced chronic liver disease (CF-ACLD, LSM <10 kPa). A historical cohort was used to validate the prognostic significance of the new definitions.

Results: Fifty (27.5%) patients met CFLD criteria. At least one sign of PH was found in 47 (26%) patients, but most (81%) had LSM <10 kPa and were likely to have PSVD; only 9 (5%) had CF-ACLD. PSVD and CFLD (LSM <10 kPa) co-existed in most (23/36) cases. In the historical cohort (n = 599 patients), likely PSVD and CFLD+PH were independently associated with a 2-fold and 3.5-fold increase in mortality compared to patients without PH, respectively. In 34 patients with SSM, values <21 and >50 kPa accurately diagnosed specific signs of PH.

Conclusions: PSVD is the prevailing cause of PH in CF patients. We developed a new diagnostic algorithm based on clinical and elastosonography criteria to classify liver involvement in patients with CF.

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