Ultrasound liver elastography is a quick and simple test to assess the degree of liver fibrosis by measuring liver stiffness. This can be combined with a standard ultrasound evaluation of the liver morphology – fatty change, nodules, and the presence or absence of portal hypertension.
Liver fibrosis is a result of chronic liver disease which is usually caused by viral hepatitis (B & C), non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), alcohol and autoimmune liver disease. This can lead to cirrhosis, with an increased risk of developing portal hypertension and hepatocellular carcinoma.
Liver fibrosis can be reversed, stabilised or prevented if the cause is removed and the patient is treated with immunosupressants, antiviral or antifibrotic agents. Treatment is based on the degree of fibrosis which can be graded using a Metavir score: F0 = normal, F1 = minimal fibrosis, F2 = significant fibrosis, F3 = severe fibrosis, F4 – cirrhosis. In patients with chronic Hepatitis B and C, the fibrosis score can identify those patients most likely to benefit from treatment. In patients with NAFLD increased liver stiffness suggests the presence of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) – this is of increasing prevalence and importance, and treatment may be appropriate.
Ultrasound liver elastography has been shown to be of acceptable accuracy in estimating the liver fibrosis score, and reduces the need for invasive and risky liver biopsy for this purpose. It can be used to monitor fibrotic change for any progression, and evaluate treatment response.
Ultrasound Liver Elastography is provided at New Victoria Hospital by Consultant Radiologist Dr Zahir Amin.
To make an appointment call Imaging on 0208 949 9030