Objective: To assess if a heterogeneous pattern on research liver ultrasound examination can identify children at risk for advanced cystic fibrosis (CF) liver disease. Study design: Planned 4-year interim analysis of a 9-year multicenter, case-controlled cohort study (Prospective Study of Ultrasound to Predict Hepatic Cirrhosis in CF). Children with pancreatic insufficient CF aged 3-12 years without known cirrhosis, Burkholderia species infection, or short bowel syndrome underwent a screening research ultrasound examination. Participants with a heterogeneous liver ultrasound pattern were matched (by age, Pseudomonas infection status, and center) 1:2 with participants with a normal pattern. Clinical status and laboratory data were obtained annually and research ultrasound examinations biannually. The primary end point was the development of a nodular research ultrasound pattern, a surrogate for advanced CF liver disease. Results: There were 722 participants who underwent screening research ultrasound examination, of which 65 were heterogeneous liver ultrasound pattern and 592 normal liver ultrasound pattern. The final cohort included 55 participants with a heterogeneous liver ultrasound pattern and 116 participants with a normal liver ultrasound pattern. All participants with at least 1 follow-up research ultrasound were included. There were no differences in age or sex between groups at entry. Alanine aminotransferase (42 ± 22 U/L vs 32 ± 19 U/L; P = .0033), gamma glutamyl transpeptidase (36 ± 34 U/L vs 15 ± 8 U/L; P < .001), and aspartate aminotransferase to platelet ratio index (0.7 ± 0.5 vs 0.4 ± 0.2; P < .0001) were higher in participants with a heterogeneous liver ultrasound pattern compared with participants with a normal liver ultrasound pattern. Participants with a heterogeneous liver ultrasound pattern had a 9.1-fold increased incidence (95% CI, 2.7-30.8; P = .0004) of nodular pattern vs a normal liver ultrasound pattern (23% in heterogeneous liver ultrasound pattern vs 2.6% in normal liver ultrasound pattern). Conclusions: Research liver ultrasound examinations can identify children with CF at increased risk for developing advanced CF liver disease.
- cystic fibrosis liver disease