MR elastography expands hepatic disease imaging

MR elastography could provide noninvasive diagnosis of hepatic fibrosis, according to researchers in Belgium and the U.S. The technique could lead to earlier detection in patients at risk and reduce the need for biopsy.

Dr. Laurent Huwart, a radiologist at the Catholic University of Louvain in Brussels, performed elastography on 25 consecutive patients who underwent biopsies for suspicion of chronic liver fibrosis. They tried a sequence producing shear elasticity and viscosity maps that correlated with disease stage. The Belgian data, published in the April issue of NMR in Biomedicine, validate findings reported by Mayo Clinic researchers in Minnesota at the 2005 RSNA meeting.

Principal investigator Meng Yin, a doctoral candidate at Mayo, and colleagues tested their elastography technique in 12 healthy volunteers and 12 patients with biopsy-proven fibrosis. They found MR elastrography results from liver fibrosis patients showed significantly higher shear tissue stiffness compared with normal subjects.