Critical comparison of elastography methods to assess chronic liver disease

Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2016 Jul;13(7):402-11. doi: 10.1038/nrgastro.2016.86. Epub 2016 Jun 8.


Staging of liver fibrosis and diagnosis, or exclusion, of early compensated liver cirrhosis are important in the treatment decisions and surveillance of patients with chronic liver disease. Good diagnostic accuracy, increased availability and the possibility to perform follow-up examinations led to the implementation of noninvasive methods into clinical practice. Noninvasive tests are increasingly included in national and international guidelines, leaving liver biopsy reserved for patients with unexplained discordance or suspected additional aetiologies of liver disease. In addition to staging of liver fibrosis, data on the prognostic value of these methods have increased in the past few years and are of great importance for patient care. This Review focuses on elastography methods for noninvasive assessment of liver fibrosis, disease severity and prognosis. Although liver elastography started with transient elastography, at present all large ultrasonography companies offer an elastography technique integrated in their machines. The goal of this Review is to summarize the methodological problems of noninvasive tests in general, in addition to providing an overview on currently available techniques and latest developments in liver elastography.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Chronic Disease
  • Elasticity Imaging Techniques / methods*
  • Elasticity Imaging Techniques / standards
  • Esophageal and Gastric Varices / etiology
  • Humans
  • Liver Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'
  • Prognosis
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Spleen / physiology