Serum ALT remains the most accessible test available to clinicians for monitoring chronic hepatitis B virus infection, but appropriate action when ALT levels are only mildly elevated is ambiguous in standard guidelines.A retrospective study was conducted to investigate the prevalence of significant histology in a patient population with mildly elevated serum ALT levels. A total of 193 consecutive patients were selected and divided into 2 groups according to HBeAg status. Patients were further divided into cohorts on the basis of their highest ALT elevation during follow-up and whether it was 1-1.5 times the upper limit of normal (ULN), 1.5-2 times the ULN, or greater than twice the ULN. The ULN that was used is 30 U/L for men and 19 U/L for women.In all cohorts there was a substantial fraction of patients with histologic disease as evaluated by liver biopsy. HBeAg-negative patients were older, had lower viral load, and had a higher prevalence of disease. After adjustments for age, HBeAg status and HBV DNA viral load were not predictors of significant histology. Age >35 years, male gender, and increasing ALT levels were predictors for significant histology on multivariate analysis.A substantial proportion of patients with mildly elevated ALT levels have significant histologic disease. The prevalence increased with the higher ALT levels and age.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.cgh.2008.02.037
View details for Web of Science ID 000255806200018
View details for PubMedID 18455697