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Noninvasive Breath Test Predicts Survival in Patients with Viral Hepatitis

ALEXANDRIA, Va. and BOSTON, Nov. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- A methacetin breath test (MBT) that can be performed quickly and noninvasively has been proven to accurately predict survival in patients with viral hepatitis and may be used as an adjunctive tool to MELD. "The breath test has to be validated on a large cohort of patients," said Gadi Lalazar, MD, principal investigator on this study "but if it is validated, this non invasive liver function test will be able to identify liver impairment at all stages of liver disease - both acute and chronic."

MELD (Model for End-Stage Liver Disease) is a scoring system adopted by the United Network for Organ Sharing to assess liver disease severity and determining 3-month mortality. Viral hepatitis progresses at an unpredictable rate and the addition of another way of assessing disease progression can serve as an important adjunct to MELD.

Researchers studied 395 patients with viral hepatitis. The MBT accurately predicted survival. Of those patients, 11 had died in the two years in which data were collected. MBT identified 9 of these 11 patients as being high risk. Whereas 6 of those 11 deaths occurred in patients with a MELD score less than 15 - patients who were considered at a low risk by the MELD scoring system. In addition, MBT accurately predicted survival in patients with a higher MELD score and, therefore, at increased risk as defined by MELD.

They concluded that MBT may increase physicians' ability to identify at-risk patients and allow those patients to be listed for liver transplantation earlier than using MELD alone to determine mortality. "We are now conducting large scale clinical trials to assess the role of the methacetin breath test for follow up and therapeutic decision making in patients with chronic hepatitis B and in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease," said Dr. Lalazar.

Abstract title:

The noninvasive 13C methacetin breath test accurately predicts long-term survival in patients with chronic viral hepatitis and may serve as an adjunctive tool to MELD: Results of a 395-patient clinical trial

About the AASLD

AASLD is the leading medical society focused solely on advancing the science and practice of hepatology and represents more than 3,300 practitioners, researchers, and allied health professionals worldwide. Founded by physicians in 1950, AASLD has upheld the standards of the profession and fostered research that generates treatment options for the millions of patients with liver diseases.

This year's Liver Meeting, held in Boston, Massachusetts, October 30 - November 3, will bring together more than 7,000 researchers from 55 countries. A pressroom will be available from October 31 at the annual meeting. For copies of abstracts and press releases, or to arrange for pre-conference research interviews contact Gregory Bologna at 703-299-9766. To pre-register, call Ann Tracy at 703-299-9766.

Press releases, additional information for the media, and all abstracts are available online at

    Media Contact: Gregory Bologna
    Press Room: October 31 - November 3, 2009
    Hynes Convention Center, Room 209
    Telephone: (617) 954-2827

    Researcher: Gadi Lalazar, MD
    Phone: 97 202 67777 816

This release was issued through The Xpress Press News Service, merging e-mail and satellite distribution technologies to reach business analysts and media outlets worldwide. For more information, visit

SOURCE American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases

SOURCE American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases
Copyright©2009 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

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