Ultrasonography (US) and non-invasive diagnostic methods for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and early vascular damage. Possible application in a population study on the metabolic syndrome (MS)

2012 Internal and Emergency Medicine 7 Suppl 3;(S283-290)

Abdominal ultrasonography (US) represents the first-line imaging examination in chronic liver diseases; in most cases, US, laboratory findings and the clinical context are generally sufficient to guide the diagnosis. Thanks to the considerable diffusion of US, we have seen an increased diagnosis of NAFLD in recent years, although this condition is generally silent from a clinical point of view. We have to identify the metabolic syndrome in the general population and to promptly recognize NAFLD to prevent its development into non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. Among the non-invasive diagnostic techniques for NAFLD and for early vascular damage, ultrasonography represents the method of choice. In fact, besides the traditional semiotics of fundamental US of the liver, new US techniques have recently been proposed (contrast enhancement US, acoustic structure characterization), with respect to serum biomarkers and Fibroscan, for the study of liver fibrosis. Similarly, also as concerns the US measurement of carotid intima-media thickness, new automated methods with sophisticated software and radio-frequency signal have recently been introduced. Finally, we report the preliminary results of a personal experience on liver and carotid US in the epidemiology of the metabolic syndrome.

Pubmed : 23073869