1Medizinische Klinik 1, Universitätsklinikum Frankfurt, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.
2St. Elisabeth-Krankenhaus, Leipzig, Germany.
3Ketteler Krankenhaus, Offenbach, Germany.
4Institut für Biostatistik und mathematische Modellierung, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.
5St-Josefs-Hospital, Wiesbaden, Germany.
Long-term effects on cirrhosis and portal hypertension of direct antiviral agent (DAA)-based eradication of hepatitis C virus (HCV) are still under debate. We analysed dynamics of liver and spleen elastography to assess potential regression of cirrhosis and portal hypertension 3 years post-treatment. Fifty-four patients with HCV-associated cirrhosis and DAA-induced SVR were included. Liver and spleen stiffness were measured at baseline (BL), end of treatment (EOT), 24 weeks after EOT (FU24) and 1, 2 and 3 (FU144) years post-treatment by transient liver elastography (L-TE) and point shear wave elastography (pSWE) using acoustic radiation force impulse (ARFI) of the liver (L-ARFI) and spleen (S-ARFI). Biochemical, virological and clinical data were also obtained. Liver stiffness assessed by L-TE decreased between BL [median (range), 32.5(9.1-75) kPa] and EOT [21.3(6.7-73.5) kPa; p < .0001] and EOT and FU144 [16(4.1-75) kPa; p = .006]. L-ARFI values improved between EOT [2.5(1.2-4.1) m/s] and FU144 [1.7(0.9-4.1) m/s; p = .001], while spleen stiffness remained unchanged. Overall, L-TE improved in 38 of 54 (70.4%) patients at EOT and 29 of 38 (76.3%) declined further until FU144, whereas L-ARFI values decreased in 30/54 (55.6%) patients at EOT and continued to decrease in 28/30 (93.3%) patients at FU144. Low bilirubin and high albumin levels at BL were associated with improved L-ARFI values (p = .048) at EOT or regression of cirrhosis (<12.5 kPa) by L-TE at FU144 (p = .005), respectively. Liver stiffness, but not spleen stiffness, continued to decline in a considerable proportion of patients with advanced liver disease after HCV eradication.