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NIKEI: A New Inexpensive and Non-Invasive Scoring System to Exclude Advanced Fibrosis in Patients with NAFLD
Published: Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Author: Münevver Demir et al.

by Münevver Demir, Sonja Lang, Martin Schlattjan, Uta Drebber, Inga Wedemeyer, Dirk Nierhoff, Ingrid Kaul, Jan Sowa, Ali Canbay, Ulrich Töx, Hans-Michael Steffen


To develop, validate and compare a non-invasive fibrosis scoring system for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) derived from routinely obtained clinical and biochemical parameters.


267 consecutive patients with biopsy proven fatty liver or non-alcoholic steatohepatitis were randomly assigned to the estimation (2/3) or validation (1/3) group to develop a model for the prediction of advanced fibrosis. Univariate statistics were performed to compare patients with and without advanced fibrosis, and following a multivariate logistic regression analysis a new scoring system was constructed. This non-invasive Koeln-Essen-index (NIKEI) was validated and compared to the FIB-4 index by calculating the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC). We evaluated a stepwise combination of both scoring systems for the precise prediction of advanced fibrosis. To set in contrast, we additionally tested the diagnostic accuracy of the AST/ALT ratio, BARD score and the NAFLD fibrosis score in our cohort.


Age, AST, AST/ALT ratio, and total bilirubin were identified as significant predictors of advanced fibrosis and used to construct the NIKEI with an AUC of 0.968 [0.937; 0.998] compared to 0.929 [0.869; 0.989] for the FIB-4 index. The absence of advanced fibrosis could be confirmed with excellent accuracy (99–100%). The positive predictive value of the FIB-4 index was higher (100% vs. 60%), however, the false negative rate was also high (33%). With a stepwise combination of both indices 82%–84% of biopsies would have been avoidable without a single misclassification. The AUROC for AST/ALT ratio, the NAFLD fibrosis score, and the BARD score were 0.81 (95% CI, 0.72–0.90), 0.96 (95% CI 0.92–0.99), and 0.67 (95% CI 0.55–0.78), respectively.


The NIKEI can reliably exclude advanced fibrosis in subjects with NAFLD. In combination with the FIB-4 index misclassification with inadequate clinical management can be avoided while the need for liver biopsies can be reduced.