Valentina Li Vecchi, Lydia Giannitrapani, Paola Di Carlo, Giovanni Mazzola, Pietro Colletti, Emanuele La Spada, Giovanni Vizzini, Giuseppe Montalto, Maurizio Soresi
Background. Conflicting data have been reported on the prevalence of liver steatosis, its risk factors and its relationship with fibrosis in patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/hepatitis C virus (HCV) co-infection or with HCV mono-infection. Aim. The study aims were to assess steatosis prevalence and its risk factors in both HCV groups. We also evaluated whether steatosis was linked with advanced fibrosis. Sixty-eight HIV/HCV co-infected and 69 HCV mono-infected patients were consecutively enrolled. They underwent liver ultrasonography and transient elastography. Bright liver echo-pattern was used to diagnose steatosis; advanced fibrosis was defined as liver stiffness ≥ 9.5 kPa and FIB-4 values ≥ 3.25. The optimal stiffness cut-off according to FIB-4 ≥ 3.25 was evaluated by ROC analysis. Results. No significant difference was found in steatosis-prevalence between mono- and co-infected patients (46.3 vs. 51.4%). Steatosis was associated with triglycerides and impaired fasting glucose/diabetes in HCV mono-infected, with lipodystrophy, metabolic syndrome, total-cholesterol and triglycerides in co-infected patients. Stiffness ≥ 9.5 was significantly more frequent in co-infection (P < 0.003). Advanced fibrosis wasn't significantly associated with steatosis. The area under the ROC curve was 0.85 (95% CI 0.79-0.9). On multivariate analysis steatosis was associated with triglycerides in both HCV mono- and co-infected groups (P < 0.02; P < 0.03). Conclusion. Although steatosis was common in both HCV mono- and co-infected patients, it was not linked with advanced fibrosis. Triglycerides were independent predictors of steatosis in either of the HCV-groups. Dietary interventions and lifestyle changes should be proposed to prevent metabolic risk factors.
Key words. Hepatic steatosis, Liver fibrosis, HIV/HCV co-infection, Transient elastography, FIB-4