Background: The excessive accumulation of extracellular matrix protein, primarily collagen, leads to the fibrosis of the liver, and when fibrosis becomes advanced, it leads to liver cirrhosis. Liver cirrhosis is progressive hepatic fibrosis characterized by distortion of the liver parenchyma and the formation of regenerative nodules. Nigeria is one of the countries described as hyperendemic for hepatitis B with attendant high mortality from the impact of chronic liver disease. Thus, early detection and determination of the disease burden are essential tools that will help in public health interventions and the prioritization of intervention programs.
Aim: The study aims to determine the burden of liver fibrosis using FibroScan, in a healthy population.
Materials and Methods: This cross-sectional observational study was carried out among 223 healthy individuals, in a tertiary institution, in Jos, Nigeria. Ethical approval and informed consent were obtained prior to the data collection. Demographic data, weight, and height were determined, and each of the patients had a FibroScan carried out to determine the degree of liver fibrosis. Blood was taken for hepatitis B and C tests.
Results: There were 223 participants; males were 106 (47.53%) whereas females were 117 (52.4%). The mean BMI was 26.53 ± 5.47 kg/m2, it was 24.16 ± 3.26 kg/m2 vs. 28.98 ± 6.22 kg/m2 for males and females, respectively, P = 0007. The median (inter-quarter range [IQR]) fibrosis score for the general population was 5.4 (4.4–6.7) kpa, whereas it was 5.6 (4.6–6.8) kpa vs. 5.2 (4.2–6.7) kpa for males and females, respectively, P = 0.10. Thirty-seven (16.59%) participants had significant fibrosis (FibroScan score ≥ 7.2 kpa), and six (2.7%) had liver cirrhosis (FibroScan > 12.5 kpa). Fibrosis of the liver was associated with being obese, odds ratio = 1.20 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.43–3.3); alcohol ingestion, odds ratio = 1.17 (95% CI: 0.03–4.48); and female sex, odds ratio = 2.03 (95% CI: 0.82–5.01).
Conclusions: Hepatic fibrosis is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality. Screening individuals at a risk of liver fibrosis should be intensified in order to ensure early detection and deter further progression and complications.
Keywords: FibroScan, fibrosis, liver cirrhosis