Heterogeneity of Fibrosis in Liver Biopsies of Patients with Heart Failure Undergoing Heart Transplant Evaluation

Academic Article


  • Liver biopsies are commonly performed in heart transplant candidates to confirm congestive hepatopathy (CH) and to assess the degree of fibrosis. Heterogeneity of fibrosis is frequent in CH, making it difficult to stage fibrosis. In this study, we evaluated the prevalence of heterogeneity of fibrosis and nodular regenerative hyperplasia (NRH) in liver biopsies with CH secondary to heart failure. Fifty liver biopsies with CH secondary to heart failure were reviewed. The fibrosis was scored on trichrome stain as follows: stage 0 for no fibrosis, stage 1 for zone 3 fibrosis, stage 2 for zone 3 and portal fibrosis, stage 3 for bridging fibrosis, and stage 4 for cirrhosis. Both stage 3 and stage 4 fibrosis were classified as advanced fibrosis. A predominant pattern of fibrosis and a secondary pattern of fibrosis, defined as a different stage of fibrosis seen in at least 10% of the biopsy material, if present, were recorded. A biopsy was considered to show heterogenous fibrosis if there was at least a 2 stage difference between the predominant and secondary patterns. Thirteen biopsies (26%) showed heterogenous fibrosis. Sixteen biopsies (32%) showed some evidence of advanced fibrosis: 5 had uniform advanced fibrosis, 4 had predominant pattern of advanced fibrosis, and advanced fibrosis was focal in 7 biopsies from 6 patients. NRH-Type changes were seen in 9 of 50 biopsies (18%). In conclusion, our study showed heterogenous fibrosis in the liver biopsy of a quarter of patients with CH due to heart failure, highlighting the limitations of fibrosis assessment in the biopsies, and suggests that correlation with the complete clinical information is essential for management decisions. ©
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Dhall D; Kim SA; Mc Phaul C; Kransdorf EP; Kobashigawa JA; Sundaram V; Mirocha J; Guindi M
  • Start Page

  • 1617
  • End Page

  • 1624
  • Volume

  • 42
  • Issue

  • 12