Principles and clinical application of ultrasound elastography for diffuse liver disease

2014 Ultrasonography 33;3 (149-160)

Accurate assessment of the degree of liver fibrosis is important for estimating prognosis and deciding on an appropriate course of treatment for cases of chronic liver disease (CLD) with various etiologies. Because of the inherent limitations of liver biopsy, there is a great need for non-invasive and reliable tests that accurately estimate the degree of liver fibrosis. Ultrasound (US) elastography is considered a non-invasive, convenient, and precise technique to grade the degree of liver fibrosis by measuring liver stiffness. There are several commercial types of US elastography currently in use, namely, transient elastography, acoustic radiation force impulse imaging, supersonic shear-wave imaging, and real-time tissue elastography. Although the low reproducibility of measurements derived from operator-dependent performance remains a significant limitation of US elastography, this technique is nevertheless useful for diagnosing hepatic fibrosis in patients with CLD. Likewise, US elastography may also be used as a convenient surveillance method that can be performed by physicians at the patients' bedside to enable the estimation of the prognosis of patients with fatal complications related to CLD in a non-invasive manner.

Pubmed : 25038804