Fibroscan Compared to FIB-4, APRI, and AST/ALT Ratio for Assessment of Liver Fibrosis in Saudi Patients With Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

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Background: Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is being increasingly recognized as a cause of chronic liver disease. It has also been associated with devastating outcomes such as decompensated liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma, as well as diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Objectives: This study was conducted in order to assess liver fibrosis using Fibroscan, and to compare these results to the use of Fibrosis-4 (FIB-4) scores, AST platelet ratio index (APRI scores), and the AST/ALT ratios on NAFLD patients. Patients and Methods: A cross sectional study study was conducted on NAFLD patients who underwent Fibroscan examinations between September 1, 2011 and June 30, 2014. Demographic data was collected, including sex, age, and nationality; serum alanine aminotransferase levels (ALT, 30 - 65 U/L), serum aspartate aminotransferase levels (AST, 15 - 37 U/L), and platelet counts (150 - 400 k/μL) were also determined. The stages of fibrosis (F0 1 - 6, F1 6.1 - 7, F2 7 - 9, F3 9.1 - 10.3, and F4 ≥ 10.4) were defined in kPa. For each patient, the AST/ALT ratio was also measured. The results of APRI and FIB-4 were compared with the Fibroscan fibrosis scores. Results: The results of 122 patients were analyzed, including 65 (53.3%) males with a mean age of 50.2 years (SD: 13.7; range: 18 - 86). The males were significantly younger than the females (48.7 years (SD: 16.03) versus 51.8 years (SD: 10.3 P = 0.05), respectively). The mean stiffness score was 12.02 (SD: 12.7) kPa. Forty-four patients (36%) had advanced fibrosis. The mean platelet and serum ALT levels were normal. There was a significant positive correlation between the Fibroscan results and the AST/ALT ratios, the APRI scores, and the FIB-4 results. Similarly, there was a significant positive correlation between age and fibrosis score, and a significant negative correlation between platelet count and stiffness score. Conclusions: The data showed that more than one-third of the cohort exhibited advanced fibrosis, demonstrating the need for the early diagnosis and treatment of NAFLD. The use of Fibroscan with other serum markers has been shown to be helpful for the diagnosis of severe fibrosis.