OBJECTIVES: The AST/ALT ratio has shown good diagnostic accuracy in patients with chronic viral liver disease. However, its prognostic utility has never been tested. Recently, the Model for End-Stage Liver Disease (MELD) has been proposed as a simple and effective tool to predict survival in patients with liver cirrhosis. The aims of this study were to assess the 3-month and 1-yr prognostic ability of the AST/ALT ratio in a series of patients with virus-related liver cirrhosis, and to evaluate the relationship between the AST/ALT ratio and the MELD score and to compare their prognostic ability. METHODS: The AST/ALT ratios and MELD scores of 99 patients with liver cirrhosis of viral etiology (73 patients with hepatitis C virus and 26 with hepatitis B virus) who had been followed-up for at least 1 yr were retrospectively calculated and correlated with the patients' 3-month and 1-yr prognosis. Receiver operating characteristic curves were used to determine the AST/ALT ratio and the MELD score cut-offs with the best sensitivity (SS) and specificity (SP) in discriminating between patients who survived and those who died. Univariate survival curves were estimated by the Kaplan-Meier method using the cut-offs identified by means of receiver operating characteristic curves. RESULTS: AST/ALT ratios and MELD scores showed a significant correlation (rs = 0.503, p = 0.0001). In all, 8% and 30% of the patients had died after 3 months and 1 yr of follow-up, respectively. AST/ALT ratios and MELD scores were significantly higher among the patients who died during both 3-month and 1-yr follow-up. An AST/ALT ratio cut-off of 1.17 had 87% SS and 52% SP, whereas a MELD cut-off of 9 had 57% SS and 74% SP in discriminating between patients who survived and those who died after 1 yr. The combined assessment of the AST/ALT ratio and/or MELD score had 90% SS and 78% SP. Survival curves of the patients showed that both parameters clearly discriminated between patients who survived and those who died in the short term (AST/ALT ratio, p = 0.0094; MELD score, p = 0.0089) as well as in the long term (AST/ALT ratio, p <0.0005; MELD score, p = 0.004). CONCLUSIONS: In patients with virus-related cirrhosis, the AST/ALT ratio has prognostic capability that is not significantly different from that of an established prognostic score such as MELD. Combined assessment of the two parameters increases the medium-term prognostic accuracy.
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||American Journal of Gastroenterology|
|Publication status||Published - Nov 1 2002|
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