Giovanna Ferraioli, Raffaella Lissandrin, Carmine Tinelli, Luigia Scudeller, Federico Bonetti, Mabel Zicchetti, Filomena Longo, Mauro Murgia, Stefano Bernuzzi, Marco Zecca, Paolo Casula, Antonio Piga, Carlo Filice
Rationale for the study. This cross-sectional multicenter study was conducted to investigate any difference in liver stiffness measurements (LSM), evaluated by transient elastography, between patients affected by ? thalassaemia major, with and without hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, and healthy blood donors (controls). Secondary aim was to assess any correlation between transient elastography and serum ferritin, liver magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) T2* or superconductive quantum interference device (SQUID) liver susceptometry values. Materials and methods. The study involved three centers. Transient elastography and MRI T2* examinations were performed in all centers. SQUID liver susceptometry was performed in center1 and center2. T-test for independent data or Mann-Whitney U test was used to analyse differences between two groups. Univariate Pearsons r coefficient was used to test correlations between liver stiffness measurements and all other variables. Results. In a study with 119 patients and 183 controls, patients who had never been infected with HCV showed significantly higher LSMs than controls [5.7 (95% CI, 5.2-6.2) kPa vs. 4.3 (95% CI, 4.1-4.4) kPa, p < 0.0001]. A moderate correlation between LSMs and ferritin values, adjusted for gender and age, was found in patients (r = 0.49, p < 0.0001) but not in controls (r = -0.22, p = 0.6). No correlation between LSMs and MRI T2* or SQUID liver susceptometry values was observed. In conclusion, compared to controls B thalassaemia major patients had a significant increase in LSMs independently from HCV infection.
Key words. Sonoelastography, Magnetic resonance imaging, Superconductive quantum interference device, Liver fibrosis