Hepatic fibrosis has emerged as the key pathologic determinant of prognosis and natural history in chronic liver disease arising from a variety of sources, such as viral infection, autoimmunity, metabolic disease, and drug toxicity. In hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, advanced hepatic fibrosis, not the virus itself, leads to the onset of liver-related symptoms in the large majority of patients. Moreover, chronic injury typically persists for decades, but only in the final few years of infection, when fibrosis becomes extensive, does severe liver damage become clinically apparent. These observations underlie the challenge and importance of diagnosing fibrosis accurately and early, when any treatment - antiviral or antifibrotic - is most likely to be effective.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)182-187
Number of pages6
JournalClinical Perspectives in Gastroenterology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2002


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