Journal of hepatology

13C-aminopyrine breath test accurately predicts long-term outcome of chronic hepatitis C.

PMID 22173159


Although numerous non-invasive tests are currently available to explore liver function and disease activity in patients with HCV-related chronic diseases, none of these indicate the likelihood of disease progression in the individual patient. We aimed at assessing the prognostic ability of (13)C(2)-aminopyrine breath test ((13)C-ABT) in the prediction of liver fibrosis progression in patients with HCV chronic hepatitis who prospectively entered a long-term follow-up. Fifty patients with HCV-related chronic disease who underwent paired liver biopsy (at baseline and after a mean period of 86 months) were included in the study. (13)C-ABT was carried out at baseline and every 3 years. Histological progression was defined as increase of at least 2 fibrosis units according to Ishak score. Fourteen patients progressed of at least 2 fibrosis units during the follow-up. These patients were more frequently infected with a HCV-1b genotype and had, at baseline, a significantly older age, higher BMI, AST levels, and AST to platelet ratio index (APRI). (13)C-ABT was altered in 57% of cases at baseline and in 100% of the cases at 3-year follow-up. In the univariate analysis, age (p=0.005), BMI (p=0.006), platelet count (p=0.03), AST (p=0.012) and ALT (p=0.04) levels, APRI (p=0.03), and baseline (13)C-ABT results (p<0.0001) were all independently associated with progression of liver fibrosis. By Cox's multiple regression analysis, the (13)C-ABT was the only covariate that significantly predicted liver fibrosis progression (HR 6.7; 95% CI 2.3-20.1; p<0.001). (13)C-ABT accurately predicts the risk of disease progression in patients with HCV-related chronic hepatitis.

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4-Dimethylaminoantipyrine, reactive nitrogen species scavenger