Radiologic studies in acute fatty liver of pregnancy. A review of the literature and 19 new cases

J Reprod Med. 1996 Nov;41(11):839-43.


Objective: Radiologic findings thought to be characteristic of acute fatty liver of pregnancy have been described in a limited number of cases. We describe wide experience with liver imaging of this disease.

Study design: A retrospective review was performed on charts from 1982 to 1994 to identify those patients with acute fatty liver of pregnancy who had radiologic studies.

Results: Twenty-eight patients with acute fatty liver of pregnancy were identified, for an incidence of 1/6,692 births. Nineteen patients underwent at least one imaging study, and seven had more than one. Findings consistent with fatty infiltration of the liver are found in 3/11 patients with ultrasound, 5/10 with computed tomography (CT) and 0/5 with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Three patients with normal ultrasound scans subsequently had evidence of fatty filtration on CT scan.

Conclusion: Detection of fat in the liver of patients with acute fatty liver of pregnancy with current imaging techniques is limited and did not contribute to the management of patients in this series. Further studies are necessary to define to role of MRI--in particular, spectroscopy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Fatty Liver / diagnosis*
  • Fatty Liver / diagnostic imaging
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / diagnostic imaging*
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Ultrasonography