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The Evolving Role of Liver Biopsy in Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

Juan Pablo Arab, Francisco Barrera, Marco Arrese

Abstract

Evaluation patients with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) imply the need of appropriate assessment of disease severity (i.e. the presence of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH)) as well as of the disease stage (i.e. the extent of liver fibrosis). Liver biopsy (LB) is still considered the gold standard for diagnosing NASH as well as for establishing the degree of liver fibrosis. However, due to its invasive nature and costs, use of LB should be restricted to selected patients and, according guidelines and expert opinion, indicated in the following scenarios: a) when LB will guide treatment, b) to confirm or exclude NAFLD in patients with conflicting clinical data, c) to increase patient’s awareness about their disease, and improve engagement in their care and d) for inclusion in clinical trials. However, the role of LB in NAFLD is evolving since when new and costly therapeutic agents become available, LB will be eventually necessary to make clinical decisions. The use of non-invasive tools (NITs) to assess steatosis, NASH and hepatic fibrosis is useful to triage NAFLD patients and decide in whom perform a LB.

Key words. Liver biopsy, Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, Personalized treatment, Elastography

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The Official Journal of the Mexican Association of Hepatology, the Latin-American Association for the Study of the Liver and the Canadian Association for the Study of the Liver

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