Noninvasive Staging of Hepatic Steatosis Using Calibrated 2D US with Liver Biopsy as the Reference Standard
Abstract: Liver fat can be detected with an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of 0.97 using a generic analysis method for two-dimensional US liver images while only requiring a one-time calibration using a reference phantom.
Background: Accumulation of lipid in the liver (ie, hepatic steatosis) is the basis of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Asymptomatic steatosis can lead to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis and downstream complications.
Purpose: To assess the diagnostic performance of calibrated US (CAUS) as a method for detection and staging of hepatic steatosis in comparison with liver biopsy.
Materials and Methods: Two-dimensional US images in 223 consecutive patients who underwent US-guided liver biopsy from May 2012 to February 2016 were retrospectively analyzed by two observers using CAUS. CAUS semiautomatically estimates echo-level and texture parameters, with particular interest in the residual attenuation coefficient (RAC), which is the remaining steatosis-driven attenuation obtained after correction of the beam profile. Data were correlated with patient characteristics and histologically determined steatosis grades and fibrosis stages. The data were equally divided into training and test sets to independently train and test logistic regression models for detection (>5% fat) and staging (>33% and >66% fat) of hepatic steatosis by using area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) analysis.
Results: A total of 195 patients (mean age, 50 years ± 13 [SD]; 110 men) were included and divided into a training set (n = 97 [50%]) and a test set (n = 98 [50%]). The average CAUS interobserver correlation coefficient was 0.95 (R range, 0.87–0.99). The best correlation with steatosis was found for the RAC parameter (R = 0.78, P < .01), while no correlation was found for fibrosis (R = 0.14, P = .054). Steatosis detection using RAC showed an AUC of 0.97 (95% CI: 0.94, 1.00), and the multivariable AUC was found to be 0.97 (95% CI: 0.95, 1.00). The predictive performance for moderate and severe hepatic steatosis using RAC was 0.93 (95% CI: 0.88, 0.98) and 0.93 (95% CI: 0.87, 0.98), respectively.
Conclusion: The calibrated US parameter residual attenuation coefficient detects and stages steatosis accurately with limited interobserver variability, and performance is not hampered by the presence of fibrosis.
© RSNA, 2022