Published online Jun 21, 2021. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v27.i23.3223
Peer-review started: February 9, 2021
First decision: February 27, 2021
Revised: March 11, 2021
Accepted: May 10, 2021
Article in press: May 10, 2021
Published online: June 21, 2021
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection and unhealthy alcohol use are major drivers of the burden of liver disease worldwide and commonly co-occur. Assessment of underlying liver damage is a cornerstone of the clinical care of patients with chronic HCV infection and/or unhealthy alcohol use because many of them are diagnosed at advanced stages of disease. Early diagnosis of liver disease before decompensated liver cirrhosis becomes established is essential for treatment with direct acting antivirals and/or abstinence from alcohol consumption, which are the main therapeutic approaches for clinical management. In this review, we discuss current knowledge around the use of non-invasive methods to assess liver disease, such as abdominal ultrasound, controlled attenuation parameter, transient elastography, magnetic resonance imaging, and indices based on serum markers of liver injury.
Core Tip: In this review, we discuss current knowledge around the use of non-invasive methods to assess underlying liver disease in patients with hepatitis C virus infection and/or unhealthy alcohol use. A timely diagnosis of liver disease is of the outmost importance to avoid progression to decompensated liver disease and liver cancer. Antiviral treatment and abstinence from alcohol use are cornerstones of clinical care for these patients.