Aim: The accuracy of liver stiffness measurement (LSM) in the diagnosis of liver fibrosis is affected by elevated serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels. The aim of this study was to assess the impact of mild to moderate elevations of ALT on LSM in patients with chronic hepatitis B (CHB) during antiviral therapy.
Methods: A total of 58 CHB patients with their ALT levels falling into the range of ×2 to ×10 the upper limit of normal (ULN) were recruited. ALT and LSM values were periodically assessed at baseline and 12, 24 and 48 weeks.
Results: The median ALT levels were 153.5 (76–544), 50.5 (11–475), 36.5 (9–265) and 30 (12–239) IU/L at baseline and 12, 24 and 48 weeks, respectively. The corresponding median value of LSM was 8.8 (3.2–47.3), 6.15 (3.2–31.2), 5.9 (3.1–29.1) and 5.5 (2.8–21.5) kpa. However, after the ALT levels were normalized by the treatment, the values of LSM did not vary significantly (6.1 [3.0–17.7] vs 5.25 [2.8–21.5] kpa, P = 0.381). Pretreatment fibrosis stages of liver biopsies corresponded with LSM after ALT normalization rather than baseline LSM (F0–1, 12/27 vs 23/25, P < 0.001).
Conclusion: The LSM values decreased in parallel with the decline in ALT levels in CHB patients with mild to moderate elevation of ALT. LSM became more accurate when applied to document the liver fibrosis or cirrhosis in CHB patients after the elevated ALT level has been treated to normal level.