Liver test abnormalities in patients with HIV mono-infection: assessment with simple noninvasive fibrosis markers

Authors Rosa Lombardi, Robert Lever, Colette Smith, Neal Marshall, Alison Rodger, Sanjay Bhagani, Emmanuel Tsochatzis.


Background Patients with HIV mono-infection may develop chronic liver disease due to a number of factors including hepatic steatosis. We estimated the prevalence and predictors of hepatic steatosis and fibrosis in a cohort of HIV-mono-infected patients with persistently deranged liver function tests.

Methods Of 2398 consecutive patients at one UK clinical center, 156 (6.5%) had persistently abnormal transaminases in at least two measurements six months apart. We used APRI and FIB4 scores to determine the presence of significant and/or advanced fibrosis in this group as well as its potential associations.

Results Mean age was 47.5±8.5 years and 91% (142/156) were males. Diabetes mellitus was present in 11% of patients; hypertension in 18%; and dyslipidemia in 52%. Almost all were on antiretroviral therapy (ART) (97%) and most were virologically suppressed (94%). Steatosis was detected by ultrasound in 71% of patients. The prevalence of FIB4≤1.45, 1.46-3.24 and >3.25 was 67%, 29% and 4%, respectively, and that of APRI≤0.5, 0.51-1.49 and >1.5 was 52%, 45% and 3% respectively. In multivariate analysis, only cumulative ART exposure was associated with FIB4>1.45 (odds ratio [OR] 1.008, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.000-1.016), while APRI>0.5 was associated with higher alanine aminotransferase levels (OR 1.033, 95%CI 1.015-1.510). Twenty patients had a liver biopsy, of whom 13 had non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

Conclusions Elevated transaminases are often present in HIV-mono-infected patients and this may be associated with NAFLD and/or ART. Non-invasive screening for the presence of NAFLD and fibrosis in all HIV-mono-infected patients as part of their routine clinical management should be further explored.

Keywords Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, FibroScan, FIB4, APRI, antiretroviral therapy

Ann Gastroenterol 2017; 30 (3): 349-356

Original Articles