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New Index Helps to Measure Fibrosis Levels in HIV/HCV Patients

A recent study by Harvard University researchers examined a way to accurately measure liver fibrosis (scarring) in patients co-infected with HIV and hepatitis C (HCV). Study participants, randomly selected from the Johns Hopkins HIV Clinic cohort, were tested using the SHASTA index. Fibrosis severity was determined by systematically scoring the results of biopsy and chemical tests.

As fibrosis advances and becomes more severe, there is an increased risk for permanent liver scarring called cirrhosis. Patients with cirrhosis are more likely to develop irreversible liver damage. This damage inhibits the organ’s ability to carry out its vital functions.

“Amongst HIV/HCV co-infected patients, serum testing for hyaluronic acid, albumin, and aspartate aminotransferase, SHASTA Index was able to accurately stage mild and advanced fibrosis,” reported Dr. Thomas Kelleher and his colleagues.

The study is entitled, “Prediction of hepatic fibrosis in HIV/HCV co-infected patients using fibrosis markers: The SHASTA Index.” It was published in the July 2005 issue of the Journal of Hepatology.

Source: Biotech Week, August 31, 2005


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