Magnetic Resonance Elastography Comes of Age

Her-Hsin Tsai*

Magnetic Resonance Electrography Comes of Age

Clinicians are always in search of a less invasive method of diagnosing and assessing
a patient. Patients with liver cirrhosis are no exception.

Liver cirrhosis is the end stage of many liver pathologies and knowledge
of the onset and stage of liver cirrhosis is important to the
clinician as it dictates the treatments on offer.

This has become increasingly important in viral hepatitis,
as it determines level and timing of anti-viral therapy. Furthermore, onset of cirrhosis
would alert the physician to screen for varices and hepatocellular carcinoma.

To date the gold standard for diagnosing and staging liver cirrhosis is percutaneous liver biopsy.
This is expensive and carries a significant complication rate and a small mortality rate.

There could also be sampling error and it only shows if the area targeted
has the cirrhotic changes, and does not give the picture of the entire liver.
There have been attempts at non-invasive tests like the Fibrotest and ultrasound based elastography.

There are at least two methods of ultrasound based
elastography. Deformation elastography depends on the constant pressure/stress applied to the
organ and shear wave elastography in which a shear wave is applied and propagation measured.
These measures are at best qualitative and has a disadvantage of being operator dependent and
subjects who have small livers or prominent fat cover may be difficult to assess.

Magnetic Resonance Elastography (MRE) was first described in 1995. Since then the
technique has been refined and applied to the liver.

Magnetic Resonance Electrography Comes of Age

Liver Res Open J. 2015; 1(2): e4-e5. doi: 10.17140/LROJ-1-e002