Reproducibility of hepatic MR elastography across field strengths, pulse sequences, scan intervals, and readers
To evaluate the reproducibility of hepatic MRE under various combinations of settings of field strength, pulse sequence, scan interval, and reader in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) patients.
Adult NAFLD patients were prospectively enrolled for serial hepatic MRE with 1.5 T using 2D GRE sequence and 3.0 T using 2D SE-EPI sequence on the same day and after 2 weeks, resulting a total of four MRE examinations per patient. Three readers with various levels of background knowledge in MRE technique and liver anatomy measured liver stiffness after a training session. Linear regression, Bland–Altman analysis, within-subject coefficient of variation, and reproducibility coefficient (RDC) were used to determine reproducibility of hepatic MRE measurement.
Twenty patients completed the MRE sessions. Liver stiffness through MRE showed pooled RDC of 26% (upper 95% CI 30.6%) and corresponding limits of agreement (LOA) within 0.55 kPa across field strengths, MRE sequences, and 2-week interscan interval in three readers. Small mean biases and narrow LOA were observed among readers (0.05–0.19 kPa ± 0.53).
The magnitude of change across combinations of scan parameters is within acceptable clinical range, rendering liver stiffness through MRE a reproducible quantitative imaging biomarker. A lower reproducibility was observed for measurements under different field strengths/MRE sequences at a longer (2 weeks) interscan interval. Operators should be trained to acquire region of interest consistently in repeat examinations.
KeywordsMagnetic resonance elastography Reproducibility of results Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
This work was supported by the new faculty research fund of Ajou University School of Medicine. The recipient of the fund is Bohyun Kim.
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