Feasibility and diagnostic performance of the FibroScan XL probe for liver stiffness measurement in overweight and obese patients

Hepatology. 2012 Jan;55(1):199-208. doi: 10.1002/hep.24624. Epub 2011 Nov 18.


Failure of liver stiffness measurement (LSM) by transient elastography (TE, FibroScan) and unreliable results occur in ≈ 5% and 15% of patients, respectively, mainly due to obesity. In this multicenter study, we evaluated the feasibility and performance of the novel FibroScan XL probe in 276 patients with chronic liver disease (42% viral hepatitis, 46% nonalcoholic fatty liver disease [NAFLD]) and a body mass index (BMI) ≥ 28 kg/m(2) . Patients underwent liver biopsy and TE with the standard M and XL probes. TE failure was defined as no valid LSMs and unreliable examinations as <10 valid LSMs or an interquartile range (IQR)/LSM >30% or success rate <60%. Probe performance for diagnosing ≥ F2 fibrosis and cirrhosis (F4) versus biopsy were examined using areas under receiver operating characteristic curves (AUROC). FibroScan failure was less frequent with the XL probe than the M probe (1.1% versus 16%) and the XL probe was more often reliable (73% versus 50%; both P < 0.00005). Reliable results with the XL probe were obtained in 61% of patients in whom the M probe was unreliable. Among 178 patients with ≥ 10 valid LSMs using both probes, liver stiffness was highly correlated between probes (ρ = 0.86; P < 0.0005); however, median liver stiffness was lower using the XL probe (6.8 versus 7.8 kPa; P < 0.00005). The AUROC of the XL and M probes were similar for ≥ F2 fibrosis (0.83 versus 0.86; P = 0.19) and cirrhosis (0.94 versus 0.91; P = 0.28).

Conclusion: Compared with the M probe, the FibroScan XL probe reduces TE failure and facilitates reliable LSM in obese patients. Although the probes have comparable accuracy, lower liver stiffness cutoffs will be necessary when the XL probe is used to noninvasively assess liver fibrosis.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biopsy
  • Elasticity Imaging Techniques / instrumentation
  • Elasticity Imaging Techniques / methods*
  • Elasticity Imaging Techniques / standards*
  • Fatty Liver / pathology*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Liver / pathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
  • Obesity / pathology*
  • Overweight / pathology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Reference Standards
  • Reproducibility of Results