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Mayo Clinic's new imaging technology accurately identifies a broad spectrum of liver disease
Date:11/1/2008

ROCHESTER, Minn. -- A new study shows that an imaging technology developed by Mayo Clinic researchers can identify liver fibrosis with high accuracy and help eliminate the need for liver biopsies. Liver fibrosis is a common condition that can lead to incurable cirrhosis if not treated in time.

The technology, called magnetic resonance elastography (MRE), produces color-coded images known as elastograms that indicate how internal organs, muscles and tissues would feel to the touch. Red is the stiffest; purple, the softest. Other imaging techniques do not provide this information.

"Knowing the liver's elasticity or stiffness is invaluable in diagnosing liver disease," says Jayant Talwalkar, M.D., M.P.H., a Mayo Clinic hepatologist and co-investigator on the study. "A healthy liver is very soft, while a liver with early disease begins to stiffen. A liver with cirrhosis, advanced liver disease, can be rock hard."

The study, which included 113 patients, will be presented Nov. 3 at The Liver Meeting, an annual gathering of the American Association for the Study of Liver Disease, in San Francisco. Study participants had undergone liver biopsy in the year preceding the study and had a wide variety of liver diseases, including nonalcoholic and alcoholic fatty liver disease, hepatitis C, hepatitis B, autoimmune hepatitis, primary biliary cirrhosis and primary sclerosing cholangitis. Patients ranged in age from 19 to 78, and their body weight ranged from normal to severely obese.

"Results showed that elastography was highly accurate in detecting moderate-to-severe hepatic fibrosis even with the variety in age, types of liver disease and body size," says Dr. Talwalkar. Among the study's findings:

  • The detection of cirrhosis by MRE when compared to liver biopsy results was 88 percent accurate.

  • Patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and no significant inflammation or fibrosis were ide
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Contact: Amy Tieder
newsbureau@mayo.edu
507-284-5005
Mayo Clinic
Source:Eurekalert

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