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Diagnostic Performance Comparison Between Ultrasound Attenuation Measurements From Right and Left Hepatic Lobes for Steatosis Detection in Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

Published:December 29, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.acra.2022.12.025

      Rationale and Objectives

      Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is currently diagnosed by liver biopsy or MRI proton density fat fraction (MRI-PDFF) from left hepatic lobe (LTHL) and/or right hepatic lobe (RTHL). The objective of this study was to compare the diagnostic value of ultrasound attenuation coefficients (ACs) from RTHL and LTHL in detecting hepatic steatosis using biopsy or MRI-PDFF as a reference standard.

      Materials and Methods

      Sixty-six patients with suspected NAFLD were imaged with an Aplio i800 ultrasound scanner (Canon Medical Systems, Tustin, CA). Five AC measurements from RTHL and LTHL were averaged separately and together to be compared with the reference standard.

      Results

      Forty-seven patients (71%) were diagnosed with NAFLD. Mean ACs were significantly higher in fatty livers than non-fatty livers (RTHL: 0.73 ± 0.10 vs. 0.63 ± 0.07 dB/cm/MHZ; p < 0.0001, LTHL: 0.78 ± 0.11 vs. 0.63 ± 0.06 dB/cm/MHz; p < 0.0001, RTHL & LTHL: 0.76 ± 0.09 vs. 0.63 ± 0.05 dB/cm/MHz; p < 0.0001). Biopsy steatosis grades (n =31) were better correlated with the mean ACs of RTHL & LTHL (r = 0.72) compared to LTHL (r = 0.67) or RTHL (r = 0.61). Correlation between MRI-PDFF (n = 35) and mean ACs was better for LTHL (r = 0.69) compared to the RTHL & LTHL (r = 0.66) or RTHL (r = 0.45). Higher diagnostic accuracy was shown for the mean ACs of RTHL & LTHL (AUC 0.89, specificity 94%, sensitivity 78%) compared to LTHL (AUC 0.89, specificity 88%, sensitivity 82%) or RTHL (AUC 0.81, specificity 89%, sensitivity 68%).

      Conclusion

      Ultrasound ACs from RTHL and LTHL showed comparable diagnostic values in detection of hepatic steatosis with the highest diagnostic accuracy when they were averaged together.

      Key Words

      Abbreviation:

      AC (attenuation coefficient), ATI (attenuation imaging), AUC (area under the curve), BMI (body mass index), LTHL (left hepatic lobe), MRI-PDFF (MRI-proton density fat fraction), NAFLD (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease), ROC (receiver operating characteristic), ROI (region of interest, RTHL, right hepatic lobe), std (standard deviation)
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