Background and aims Advanced liver fibrosis is an important predictor of liver disease progression and mortality, and current guidelines recommend screening for complications of cirrhosis once patients develop F3 fibrosis. Our study compared liver disease progression and survival in patients with stage 3 (F3) and stage 4 (F4) fibrosis on liver biopsy. Methods Retrospective study of patients with F3 or F4 on liver biopsy followed for development of liver disease complications (variceal bleeding, ascites, and hepatic encephalopathy); hepatocellular carcinoma, and survival (overall and transplant free survival). Results Of 2488 patients receiving liver biopsy between 01/02 and 12/12, a total of 294 (171 F3) were analyzed. Over a median follow up period of 3 years, patients with F4 (mean age 53 years, 63% male) compared to F3 (mean age 49 years, 43% male) had higher five year cumulative probability of any decompensation (38% vs. 14%, p<0.0001), including variceal bleed (10% vs. 4%, p = 0.014), ascites (21% vs. 9%, p = 0.0014), and hepatic encephalopathy (14% vs. 5%, p = 0.003). F4 patients also had lower overall 5-year survival (80% vs. 93%, p = 0.003) and transplant free survival (80% vs. 93%, p = 0.002). Probability of hepatocellular carcinoma in 5 years after biopsy was similar between F3 and F4 (1.2% vs. 2%, p = 0.54). Conclusions Compared to F4 stage, patients with F3 fibrosis have decreased risk for development of liver disease complications and better survival. Prospective well designed studies are suggested with large sample size and overcoming the limitations identified in this study, to confirm and validate these findings, as basis for modifying guidelines and recommendations on follow up of patients with advanced fibrosis and stage 3 liver fibrosis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)