Ultrasound-based elastography for the diagnosis of portal hypertension in cirrhotics

2015 World Journal of Gastroenterology 21;41 (11542-11551)

Progressive fibrosis is encountered in almost all chronic liver diseases. Its clinical signs are diagnostic in advanced cirrhosis, but compensated liver cirrhosis is harder to diagnose. Liver biopsy is still considered the reference method for staging the severity of fibrosis, but due to its drawbacks (inter and intra-observer variability, sampling errors, unequal distribution of fibrosis in the liver, and risk of complications and even death), non-invasive methods were developed to assess fibrosis (serologic and elastographic). Elastographic methods can be ultrasound-based or magnetic resonance imaging-based. All ultrasound-based elastographic methods are valuable for the early diagnosis of cirrhosis, especially transient elastography (TE) and acoustic radiation force impulse (ARFI) elastography, which have similar sensitivities and specificities, although ARFI has better feasibility. TE is a promising method for predicting portal hypertension in cirrhotic patients, but it cannot replace upper digestive endoscopy. The diagnostic accuracy of using ARFI in the liver to predict portal hypertension in cirrhotic patients is debatable, with controversial results in published studies. The accuracy of ARFI elastography may be significantly increased if spleen stiffness is assessed, either alone or in combination with liver stiffness and other parameters. Two-dimensional shear-wave elastography, the ElastPQ technique and strain elastography all need to be evaluated as predictors of portal hypertension.

Pubmed : 26556985