Tomoelastography for the Evaluation of Pediatric Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

Invest Radiol. 2019 Apr;54(4):198-203. doi: 10.1097/RLI.0000000000000529.


Objectives: Today, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common chronic liver disease in children and adults alike. Yet, the noninvasive evaluation of disease severity remains a diagnostic challenge. In this study, we apply multifrequency magnetic resonance elastography (mMRE) for the quantification of liver steatosis and fibrosis in adolescents with NAFLD.

Methods: Fifty adolescents (age range, 10-17 years; mean BMI, 33.9 kg/m; range, 21.4-42.1 kg/m) with biopsy-proven NAFLD were included in this prospective study. Multifrequency magnetic resonance elastography was performed using external multifrequency vibrations of 30 to 60 Hz and tomoelastography postprocessing, resulting in penetration rate (a) and shear wave speed (c). Hepatic fat fraction was determined using Dixon method. The diagnostic accuracy of mMRE in grading liver steatosis and staging liver fibrosis was assessed by receiver operating characteristic curve analysis.

Results: Multifrequency magnetic resonance elastography parameters c and a were independently sensitive to fibrosis and steatosis, respectively, providing area under the receiver operating characteristic values of 0.79 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.66-0.92), 0.91 (95% CI, 0.83-0.99), and 0.90 (95% CI, 0.80-0.99) for the detection of any (≥F1), moderate (≥F2), and advanced (≥F3) fibrosis, and 0.87 (95% CI, 0.76-0.97) and 0.87 (95% CI, 0.77-0.96) for the detection of moderate (≥S2) and severe (S3) steatosis.

Conclusions: One mMRE measurement provides 2 independent parameters with very good diagnostic accuracy in detecting moderate and advanced fibrosis as well as moderate and severe steatosis in pediatric NAFLD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Biopsy
  • Child
  • Elasticity Imaging Techniques / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Liver / diagnostic imaging
  • Male
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / diagnostic imaging*
  • Prospective Studies
  • ROC Curve
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Severity of Illness Index