Noninvasive tools to assess liver disease.
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: To improve understanding of recent developments in the noninvasive assessment of fibrosis and their potential clinical application to a range of chronic liver diseases. RECENT FINDINGS: Many noninvasive tests have evolved from their primary validation in chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection to integration into clinical management algorithms for chronic liver disease of varying cause. Recent studies consider the use of these techniques in sequence or in combination, and compare the performance of serum and imaging-based noninvasive techniques to identify patients with significant fibrosis, or those at most risk of clinical sequelae from advanced-stage disease. Methods developed in chronic hepatitis C have now been applied in different chronic liver diseases, including nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, alcoholic liver disease, HIV/HCV co-infection and primary biliary cirrhosis. A number of new management algorithms have been developed to facilitate the integration of noninvasive techniques into clinical practice. SUMMARY: Noninvasive tools to assess liver diseases continue to evolve. New imaging technologies have been developed. Existing biomarkers and imaging modalities have been better integrated into clinical practice algorithms, and applied to different chronic liver diseases. Noninvasive techniques will likely continue to be refined and play an important role in the future management of patients with chronic liver disease.
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