Histological and clinical characteristics of patients with chronic hepatitis C and persistently normal alanine aminotransferase levels
2016-01-15T00:00:00Z (GMT) by
Patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection and persistently normal alanine aminotransferase (PNALT) are generally described to have mild liver disease.The aim of this study was to compare clinical and histological features in HCV-infected patients with PNALT and elevated ALT. Patients presenting to the University of Illinois Medical Center, Chicago, who had biopsy proven HCV, an ALT measurement at the time of liver biopsy, at least one additional ALT measurement over the next 12 months, and liver biopsy slides available for review were identified. PNALT was defined as ALT ≤ 30 on at least 2 different occasions over 12 months. Of 1200 patients with HCV, 243 met the study criteria. 13% (32/243) of patients had PNALT while 87% (211/243) had elevated ALT. Significantly more patients with PNALT had advanced fibrosis (F3 and F4) compared to those with elevated ALT (𝑃 = 0.007). There was no significant difference in the histology activity index score as well as mean inflammatory score between the two groups. In conclusion, in a well-characterized cohort of patients at a tertiary medical center, PNALT did not distinguish patients with mild liver disease.