Published online Mar 21, 2018. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v24.i11.1269
Peer-review started: December 5, 2017
First decision: December 14, 2017
Revised: January 27, 2018
Accepted: March 3, 2018
Article in press: March 3, 2018
Published online: March 21, 2018
To determine steatosis and fibrosis prevalence in hepatitis C patients after a sustained virological response achieved with direct-acting antivirals.
Transient elastography with controlled attenuation parameter (CAP) was used to assess hepatic steatosis post-sustained virological response (SVR); the CAP technology was not available in the United States at study initiation. Liver stiffness/fibrosis was measured before and 47 wk after treatment completion. Patients with genotype 3 and patients with cirrhosis were excluded.
One hundred and one patients were included in the study. Post-SVR there were decreases from baseline in alanine aminotransferase (ALT) (63.1 to 17.8 U/L), aspartate aminotransferase (51.8 to 21.5 U/L) and fibrosis score (7.4 to 6.1 kPa) (P < 0.05). Post-SVR, 48 patients (47.5%) had steatosis on CAP; of these, 6.25% had advanced fibrosis. Patients with steatosis had higher body mass index (29.0 vs 26.1 kg/m2), glucose (107.8 vs 96.6 mg/dL), ALT (20.4 vs 15.3 mg/dL), CAP score (296.3 vs 212.4 dB/m) and fibrosis score (7.0 vs 5.3 kPa); P < 0.05. Interestingly, compared to baseline, both patients with and without steatosis had change in fibrosis score post-SVR (7.7 kPa vs 7.0 kPa and 7.0 kPa vs 5.3 kPa); alternatively, (P < 0.05) and therefore patients with steatosis continued to have clinically significant stiffness (≥ 7 kPa).
Fatty liver is very common in hepatitis C virus (HCV) patients post-SVR. These patients continue to have elevated mean fibrosis score (≥ 7 kPa) compared to those without fatty liver; some have advanced fibrosis. Long term follow up is needed to assess steatosis and fibrosis in HCV patients post-SVR.
Core tip: This is the first prospective study to assess the prevalence of fatty liver in hepatitis C patients who have achieved a sustained virological response with direct-acting antivirals. The study’s findings that fatty liver is present in 47.5% of these patients and that some steatotic patients have clinically significant fibrosis despite normal liver enzymes should raise awareness of the post-sustained virological response (SVR) prevalence of fatty liver and the importance of post-SVR assessment of steatosis and fibrosis and long-term follow up with these patients.