• morphological criteria;
  • cirrhosis;
  • liver biopsy;
  • clinical relevance

ABSTRACT— Material obtained by needle biopsy of the liver from 532 patients with cirrhosis who had previously been examined has been re-evaluated using new and more restrictive histological criteria for the diagnosis of cirrhosis. The material was divided into four main groups: (A) cirrhosis, 287 biopsies; (B) probably cirrhosis, 101 biopsies; (C) compatible with but not diagnostic for cirrhosis, 89 biopsies; and (D) probably not cirrhosis, 11 biopsies. Group E consisted of 44 cases where no or insufficient material was available. The survival curves of the groups were significantly (P<0.05) different, with group D having the best survival followed by C, B and A. Clinical and laboratory manifestations of cirrhosis (more than five spider naevi, presence of ascites, daily alcohol intake of more than 50 g) were found significantly (P<0.05) more often among patients from group A, followed by patients from groups B, C and D. It is concluded that the more restrictive histological criteria for the diagnosis of cirrhosis in liver biopsies have clinical relevance, due to the prognostic and therapeutic implications of the diagnosis. The study also underlines the importance of specifying the criteria used when studies of patients with cirrhosis are reported.