13th July 2022, NIA Diagnostic Imaging


Last month we explored the many treatment options in the pipeline for the treatment of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). We have to first diagnose NAFLD. The gold standard for diagnosis of NAFLD involves a thorough clinical history with pathological correlations. This is then confirmed through the detection of steatosis on liver biopsy and the exclusion of all other causes, including alcohol consumption. Liver biopsy is the most dependable and specific method of detecting and staging fibrosis, diagnosing the cause of fibrosis, and determining whether it had progressed to cirrhosis. Apart from being invasive, liver biopsy has a problem of sampling error as it only represents 1/50000 of the liver volume and therefore does not accurately reflect the entire liver’s architecture and fibrotic changes.

To assess the prevalence of fatty liver and detect moderate to severe fatty changes, non-invasive imaging modalities, such as US, are preferred. Using ultrasound-based techniques, Fibroscan was developed. It is one of the most extensively used noninvasive methods of assessing hepatic fibrosis. Fibroscan is now available at NIA Diagnostic Imaging in Glenquarie.

Sande, J, Verjee, S, Vinayak, S, Amersi F & Gheani, M 2017, ‘Ultrasound shear wave elastography and liver fibrosis: A Prospective Multicentre Study’, World Journal of Hepatology, vol 9, no. 1, pp. 38-47, doi: 10.4254/wjh.v9.i1.38