Two-dimensional shear-wave elastography and conventional US: the optimal evaluation of liver fibrosis and cirrhosis

Radiology. 2015 Apr;275(1):290-300. doi: 10.1148/radiol.14140828. Epub 2015 Jan 7.


Purpose: To evaluate the individual and combined performances of two-dimensional (2D) shear-wave elastography (SWE) and conventional ultrasonography (US) in assessing liver fibrosis and cirrhosis to determine when 2D SWE should be added to routine US.

Materials and methods: This prospective study was approved by the institutional ethics committee, and the patients provided written informed consent. Between April 2012 and March 2013, conventional US and 2D SWE examinations were performed in 198 patients (mean age, 37.7 years; age range, 18-67 years) with chronic liver disease. Liver biopsy was used as a reference standard for 167 patients; the other 31 patients had decompensated liver cirrhosis. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves were obtained to assess the diagnostic performance. Differences between the areas under the ROC curves (AUCs) were compared by using a Delong test.

Results: Two-dimensional SWE was significantly superior to US in diagnosis of significant fibrosis (score of F2 or greater) (AUC, 0.862 vs 0.725; P = .001) and early cirrhosis (score of F4) (AUC, 0.926 vs 0.789; P = .007). Combining 2D SWE with US did not increase the performance of depicting either significant fibrosis or liver cirrhosis (P = .713 and 0.410, respectively) relative to 2D SWE alone. There was no significant difference between 2D SWE and US in diagnosis of decompensated cirrhosis (AUC, 0.878 vs 0.925; P = .323). In addition, combining 2D SWE with US did not increase the performance relative to that of US alone (P = .372).

Conclusion: Conventional US is sufficient to detect decompensated cirrhosis. Two-dimensional SWE is significantly superior to US in detecting liver fibrosis. Combining 2D SWE and US did not improve the diagnostic performance for either fibrosis or cirrhosis.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anthropometry
  • Biopsy
  • Elasticity Imaging Techniques*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Liver Cirrhosis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Liver Cirrhosis / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Ultrasonography, Interventional