The present study evaluated the utility of xenon computed tomography (Xe-CT) as a noninvasive diagnostic procedure for the measurement of hepatic tissue blood flow (TBF) in patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) or chronic hepatitis C (CH-C).
Xe-CT was performed in 93 patients with NAFLD and in 109 patients with CH-C. Subjects were classified into one of three groups, based on fibrosis stage: group 1, no bridging fibrosis; group 2, bridging fibrosis; and group 3, liver cirrhosis. Correlations between hepatic TBFs in each fibrosis stage were examined.
In group 1, portal venous TBF (PVTBF), hepatic arterial (HATBF), and total hepatic TBF (THTBF) were significantly lower in patients with in nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) than in those with CH-C (p < 0.001, p < 0.05, p < 0.001, respectively). In group 2, PVTBF and THTBF were significantly lower in patients with in NASH than in those with CH-C (p < 0.001, p < 0.05, respectively). In group 3, hepatic TBFs were not significantly different when comparing patients with NASH and those with CH-C.
PVTBF decreased due to fat infiltration. Therefore, hemodynamic changes occur relatively earlier in NAFLD than in CH-C. Patients with NASH should be monitored carefully for portal hypertensive complications in the early fibrosis stage.