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Indirect serum biomarkers perform sub optimally in screening for significant liver fibrosis among HIV-infected and uninfected adults in Uganda

Clara Wekesa
Rosalind Parkes-Ratanshi
Gregory D Kirk
Jim Aizire
Ponsiano Ocama


Introduction: Indirect serum bio-markers present an acceptable noninvasive and cheap alternative for screening of significant liver fibrosis (SLF). Evaluation of their use in resource limited settings is important to determine their utility.

Methods: We conducted a cross sectional study among 520 HIV infected and HIV uninfected adults attending care clinics in Kampala Uganda. Presence of SLF was determined using Fibroscan® liver stiffness measurement of ≥7.2KPa. The diagostic value of indirect serum bio-markers for diagnosis of SLF was evaluated using the area under the receiver operating characteristics curve (AUROC) using Fibroscan® as gold standard.

Results: Overall AUROC values for Age Platelet Index (API), Aspartate to Alanine Ratio (AAR), AST-to-Platelet Ratio Index (APRI), Fibrosis Index based on 4 Factors (FIB-4) and Gamma glutamyl transferase to Platelet Ratio Index (GPR) were 0.52, 0.49, 0.55, 0.55 and 0.54 respectively. Among HIV-infected participants AUROC values were slightly improved at predicting presence of SLF but still under 70%.

Conclusion: Despite APRI and FIB-4 being more likely to identify participants with SLF, the overall diagnostic value of all serum bio-markers was poor with and without stratification by HIV status. We recommend the use of Fibroscan® technology as more accurate non-invasive diagnostic method for screening of SLF.

Keywords: Liver fibrosis; serum bio-markers; Fibroscan®; HIV/AIDS; Sub Saharan Africa.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1729-0503
print ISSN: 1680-6905