Assessment of the variations in fat content in normal liver using a fast MR imaging method in comparison with results obtained by spectroscopic imaging
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A recently published Dixon-based MRI method for quantifying liver fat content using dual-echo breath-hold gradient echo imaging was validated by phantom experiments and compared with results of biopsy in two patients (Radiology 2005;237:1048-1055). We applied this method in ten healthy volunteers and compared the outcomes with the results of MR spectroscopy (MRS), the gold standard in quantifying liver fat content. Novel was the use of spectroscopic imaging yielding the variations in fat content across the liver rather than a single value obtained by single voxel MRS. Compared with the results of MRS, liver fat content according to MRI was too high in nine subjects (range 3.3–10.7% vs. 0.9–7.7%) and correct in one (21.1 vs. 21.3%). Furthermore, in one of the ten subjects the MRI fat content according to the Dixon-based MRI method was incorrect due to a (100-x) versus x percent lipid content mix-up. The second problem was fixed by a minor adjustment of the MRI algorithm. Despite systematic overestimation of liver fat contents by MRI, Spearman’s correlation between the adjusted MRI liver fat contents with MRS was high (r = 0.927, P < 0.001). Even after correction of the algorithm, the problem remaining with the Dixon-based MRI method for the assessment of liver fat content,is that, at the lower end range, liver fat content is systematically overestimated by 4%.
KeywordsFat measurement Liver MR imaging MR spectroscopy
The authors thank P. Kappert, J.H. Potze, and I. Willebordse for scanning the volunteers.
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