February 7, 2014
Turning the Tide: Staging
Improvements in liver monitoring continue to lag behind. Cox pointed out that a number of less-invasive blood tests -- FibroTest, SHASTA, FIB-4, Forns and APRI, for instance -- have been shown to have some value. "In this very inexpensive test, the AST to platelet ratio index is actually pretty good at predicting liver disease when compared to liver biopsy -- which again, isn't perfect," Cox said.
A newer, more advanced, completely non-invasive method -- transient elastography (a.k.a. FibroScan), approved in the U.S. in 2013 -- appears quite useful for picking up high-level liver disease and relatively useful for spotting lower-level disease, Cox said. However, the test -- which gauges liver stiffness by passing ultrasound waves through the organ -- is less effective the more overweight a patient is, and with an average price tag in the $120,000 range, Cox suggested that the technology remained an option that many facilities were unable to afford.
Myles Helfand is the editorial director of TheBody.com and TheBodyPRO.com.
Follow Myles on Twitter: @MylesatTheBody.
|Top 10 HIV Clinical Developments of 2014|
|What Does 2015 Hold in Store for HIV Research?|
|Nutrition and Exercise Tips From HIV Experts at ICAAC 2014|
|HIV Drug Development Pipeline Update, Fall 2014 Edition|
|HIV-Positive Men Taking Erectile Dysfunction Drugs More Likely to Take Sexual Risks and Have Syphilis|
|Zero HIV Infections Among PrEP Users With 45% Reporting Less Condom Usage|