CT and MRI of diffuse liver disease

Semin Ultrasound CT MR. 1995 Feb;16(1):16-33. doi: 10.1016/0887-2171(95)90012-8.


CT and MRI contribute important information to the clinical evaluation of diffuse liver disease. In some cases, these modalities can establish a diagnosis that was not ascertained histologically, which is often the case when sampling errors prevent a definitive tissue diagnosis. Characteristic alterations of liver attenuation on CT, signal changes on MRI, and morphological changes appreciated with both modalities can be used to diagnose fatty infiltration, some parenchymal deposition diseases, and cirrhosis. Furthermore, hepatocellular disease can be confirmed in the setting of indeterminate clinical and laboratory findings. Significant overlap in the imaging findings of this wide range of disorders continues to limit specificity; however, at a minimum, these techniques provide a rapid means to a noninvasive evaluation that often guides clinical decisions. Faster scanning techniques available with CT and MRI may provide additional information by assessing contrast dynamics. This review of CT and MRI in diffuse liver disease considers the diagnostic utility and clinical implications of these modalities. Pathological findings relevant to imaging considerations are discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Fatty Liver / diagnosis
  • Fatty Liver / diagnostic imaging
  • Fatty Liver / pathology
  • Hemochromatosis / diagnosis
  • Hemochromatosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Hemosiderosis / diagnosis
  • Hemosiderosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Hepatitis / diagnosis
  • Hepatitis / diagnostic imaging
  • Hepatitis / pathology
  • Humans
  • Liver Cirrhosis / diagnosis
  • Liver Cirrhosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Liver Cirrhosis / pathology
  • Liver Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Liver Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Liver Diseases / pathology
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*