OBJECTIVES Chronic liver diseases remain asymptomatic for many years. Consequently, patients are diagnosed belatedly, when cirrhosis is unmasked by lifethreatening complications. We aimed to identify simple ultrasound parameters for the screening of patients with unknown significant chronic liver disease. METHODS Three hundred and twenty seven patients with chronic liver disease, liver biopsy, and ultrasound examination were included in the derivation set. 283 consecutive patients referred for ultrasound examination were included in the validation set; those selected according to the ultrasound parameters identified in the derivation set were then referred for specialized consultation including non-invasive fibrosis tests and ultimately liver biopsy if liver fibrosis was suspected. RESULTS In the derivation set, three ultrasound parameters were independent predictors of severe fibrosis: liver surface irregularity, spleen length (>110mm), and demodulation of hepatic veins. The association of ≥2 of the three above parameters provided 49.1% sensitivity and 86.9% specificity. In the validation set, at ≥2 of the three parameters were present in 23 (8%) of the patients. Among these patients, 8 had liver fibrosis (F≥1), 5 had significant fibrosis (F≥2) and two cirrhosis. CONCLUSION The generalized search of three simple ultrasound signs in patients referred for abdominal ultrasound examination may be an easy way to detect those with silent but significant chronic liver disease.