MR elastography: high rate of technical success in pediatric and young adult patients



Magnetic resonance (MR) elastography allows the noninvasive assessment of liver stiffness, which is a surrogate for fibrosis.


The purpose of this study was to describe our experience using liver MR elastography in a large pediatric population with attention to the frequency and causes of exam failure.

Materials and methods

Imaging records were searched for patients ≤18 years of age who underwent 2-D gradient recalled echo (GRE) MR elastography of the liver between September 2011 and August 2015 on one of two 1.5-T MRI platforms. Imaging reports and clinical records were reviewed for failed MR elastography acquisitions, factor(s) resulting in failure and whether a subsequent successful examination had been performed.


Four hundred sixty-eight MR elastography examinations were performed in 372 patients between 1.5 months and 18 years of age during the study period. Ninety-six percent (450/468) of the examinations were successful. There was no significant difference in mean age (12.6±3.6 vs. 11.2±4.1 years, P=0.12) or body mass index (BMI) (28.2±12.4 vs. 29.5±10 kg/m2, P=0.6) between patients with and without successful examinations. MR elastography failures were due to poor paddle positioning resulting in inadequate generation of hepatic shear waves (n=5), iron overload (n=4), patient inability to tolerate MRI (n=3), patient breathing/motion (n=3), artifact from implanted hardware (n=1) and technical malfunction (n=2). Seven of nine (78%) repeat examinations were successful (78%).


Hepatic 2-D GRE MR elastography at 1.5 T is technically robust in children. Exam failure is infrequent and largely reflects patient specific factors, some of which can be mitigated with careful technique.

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Correspondence to Andrew T. Trout.

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Joshi, M., Dillman, J.R., Towbin, A.J. et al. MR elastography: high rate of technical success in pediatric and young adult patients. Pediatr Radiol 47, 838–843 (2017).

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  • Children
  • Fibrosis
  • Liver
  • Magnetic resonance elastography
  • Stiffness