Shear-wave elastography for the estimation of liver fibrosis in chronic liver disease: determining accuracy and ideal site for measurement

Radiology. 2015 Mar;274(3):888-96. doi: 10.1148/radiol.14140839. Epub 2014 Nov 13.


Purpose: To evaluate the accuracy of shear-wave elastography (SWE) for staging liver fibrosis in patients with diffuse liver disease (including patients with hepatitis C virus [HCV]) and to determine the relative accuracy of SWE measurements obtained from different hepatic acquisition sites for staging liver fibrosis.

Materials and methods: The institutional review board approved this single-institution prospective study, which was performed between January 2010 and March 2013 in 136 consecutive patients who underwent SWE before their scheduled liver biopsy (age range, 18-76 years; mean age, 49 years; 70 men, 66 women). Informed consent was obtained from all patients. SWE measurements were obtained at four sites in the liver. Biopsy specimens were reviewed in a blinded manner by a pathologist using METAVIR criteria. SWE measurements and biopsy results were compared by using the Spearman correlation and receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis.

Results: SWE values obtained at the upper right lobe showed the highest correlation with estimation of fibrosis (r = 0.41, P < .001). Inflammation and steatosis did not show any correlation with SWE values except for values from the left lobe, which showed correlation with steatosis (r = 0.24, P = .004). The area under the ROC curve (AUC) in the differentiation of stage F2 fibrosis or greater, stage F3 fibrosis or greater, and stage F4 fibrosis was 0.77 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.68, 0.86), 0.82 (95% CI: 0.75, 0.91), and 0.82 (95% CI: 0.70, 0.95), respectively, for all subjects who underwent liver biopsy. The corresponding AUCs for the subset of patients with HCV were 0.80 (95% CI: 0.67, 0.92), 0.82 (95% CI: 0.70, 0.95), and 0.89 (95% CI: 0.73, 1.00). The adjusted AUCs for differentiating stage F2 or greater fibrosis in patients with chronic liver disease and those with HCV were 0.84 and 0.87, respectively.

Conclusion: SWE estimates of liver stiffness obtained from the right upper lobe showed the best correlation with liver fibrosis severity and can potentially be used as a noninvasive test to differentiate intermediate degrees of liver fibrosis in patients with liver disease.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Chronic Disease
  • Elasticity Imaging Techniques*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Liver Cirrhosis / complications
  • Liver Cirrhosis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Liver Diseases / complications
  • Liver Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Young Adult