Head-to-head comparison of transient elastography (TE), real-time tissue elastography (RTE), and acoustic radiation force impulse (ARFI) imaging in the diagnosis of liver fibrosis

2012 Journal of Gastroenterology 47;4 (461-469)

BACKGROUND: Real-time tissue elastography (RTE), acoustic radiation force impulse (ARFI) imaging, and transient elastography (TE) are new technologies that are used for liver stiffness evaluation. The aim of this study was to compare these methods in the same population and to determine their diagnostic accuracy in the prediction of liver fibrosis. METHODS: Forty-five consecutive, previously biopsied, patients with chronic liver disease and 27 normal subjects underwent TE, RTE, and ARFI on the right liver lobe. Correlation coefficients between measurements, Metavir fibrosis stage, and histological necro-inflammatory activity (adjusted for fibrosis stage) were evaluated via Spearman's rank order correlation coefficients. Areas under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUROCs) were calculated to predict each fibrosis stage. RESULTS: Failure or inconsistent results occurred in 12.5% of the attempts at TE, but in none of the attempts at RTE and ARFI. The three methods showed high correlation with fibrosis and poor correlation with necro-inflammatory activity. TE and ARFI exhibited high diagnostic accuracy (AUROCs >/=0.9) in diagnosing cirrhosis (F4 Metavir). All three methods presented fair (AUROCs >0.7) to good (AUROCs >0.8) diagnostic accuracy in diagnosing fibrosis (F1-4 Metavir) and significant fibrosis (F2-4 Metavir), with TE showing the best performance (AUROCs were 0.878 for fibrosis and 0.897 for significant fibrosis). CONCLUSIONS: TE and ARFI provide high diagnostic accuracy in the diagnosis of cirrhosis. When feasible, TE may perform better than RTE and ARFI in predicting fibrosis and significant fibrosis, but larger studies are needed.