THURSDAY, Feb. 20, 2020 (HealthDay News) — A heterogeneous pattern on ultrasound examination of the liver may help identify children with cystic fibrosis (CF) at increased risk for developing advanced CF liver disease, according to a study published online Feb. 12 in The Journal of Pediatrics.

Marilyn J. Siegel, M.D., from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, and colleagues conducted a planned four-year interim analysis of a nine-year multicenter, case-controlled cohort study (Prospective Study of Ultrasound to Predict Hepatic Cirrhosis in CF). Fifty-five participants with a heterogeneous liver ultrasound pattern were matched (by age, Pseudomonas infection status, and center) with 116 participants with a normal ultrasound pattern.

The researchers found that alanine aminotransferase (42 U/L versus 32 U/L), gamma glutamyl transpeptidase (36 U/L versus 15 U/L), and aspartate aminotransferase to platelet ratio index (0.7 versus 0.4) were higher in participants with a heterogeneous liver ultrasound pattern versus participants with a normal liver ultrasound pattern. There was more than a ninefold increased incidence of a nodular pattern among participants with a heterogeneous liver ultrasound pattern (23 percent in heterogeneous liver ultrasound pattern versus 2.6 percent in normal liver ultrasound pattern).

“The findings show that we have found an important way to project which patients might develop cystic fibrosis liver disease,” a coauthor said in a statement. “It also gives us clinical therapeutic targets for interventional therapies that could prevent the development of this liver disease.”

Two authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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