Liver fibrosis in young Egyptian beta-thalassemia major patients: relation to hepatitis C virus and compliance with chelation.

Annals of hepatology

Elalfy MS, Esmat G, Matter RM, Abdel Aziz HE, Massoud WA

2013 Ann Hepatol Volume 12 Issue 1

PubMed 23293194 DOI None

FibroTest ActiTest Reliability Independant Team vs. Biopsy vs. Elastography HCV Fibrosis Activity/Inflammation


The main causes of liver fibrosis in transfusion-dependent thalassemia major are hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection and hepatic iron overload. The study aimed to assess liver fibrosis in Egyptian adolescents and young adult poly-transfused beta thalassemia patients infected with HCV using liver FibroScan in relation to iron overload and Liver iron concentration (LIC).


Fifty-one regularly transfused beta thalassemia patients above 12 years old were subjected to measurement of serum alanine transaminase (ALT), serum ferritin (SF), HCV (antibody and RNA), LIC assessed by hepatic R2* and transient elastography (TE) (FibroScan). FibroTest and liver biopsy were done to 25 patients.


Eighty two% of studied thalassemia patients were HCV antibody positive; 21(49%) of them were viremic (HCV RNA positive); median LIC was 12 mg/gm dry weight. There were strong positive correlation between the degree of liver stiffness and Ishak fibrosis score assessed in liver biopsy specimens (P = 0.002) and between FibroScan and FibroTest results (P < 0.001). Patients with HCV viremia showed significantly higher ALT, γ-glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT), SF, LIC and increased liver stiffness compared to patients with no viremia (P = 0.0001, 0.001, 0.012, 0.006 and 0.001) respectively. Liver cirrhosis (TE values > 12.5kPa) was encountered in 23.5% and variable degrees of liver fibrosis (TE values > 6-12.5 kPa) in 35% of studied thalassemic patients.


Young beta thalassemia patients with active hepatitis C infection may have hepatic cirrhosis or fibrosis at young age when accompanied with hepatic siderosis. Non invasive Liver FibroScan and Fibro-Test were reliable methods to assess liver fibrosis in young thalassemic-patients.

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