Copyright ©The Author(s) 2015. Published by Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.
World J Hepatol. Aug 18, 2015; 7(17): 2069-2079
Published online Aug 18, 2015. doi: 10.4254/wjh.v7.i17.2069
Prediction of liver cirrhosis, using diagnostic imaging tools
Suk Keu Yeom, Chang Hee Lee, Sang Hoon Cha, Cheol Min Park
Suk Keu Yeom, Sang Hoon Cha, Department of Radiology, Korea University Ansan Hospital, Korea University College of Medicine, Gyeonggi-do 425-707, South Korea
Chang Hee Lee, Cheol Min Park, Department of Radiology, Korea University Guro Hospital, Korea University College of Medicine, Seoul 152-703, South Korea
Author contributions: All the authors contributed to this work.
Conflict-of-interest statement: We disclose that authors have no conflict of interest about this manuscript.
Open-Access: This article is an open-access article which was selected by an in-house editor and fully peer-reviewed by external reviewers. It is distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:
Correspondence to: Chang Hee Lee, MD, PhD, Department of Radiology, Korea University Guro Hospital, Korea University College of Medicine, 184, Gurodong-ro, Guro-gu, Seoul 152-703, South Korea.
Telephone: +82-2-26263212 Fax: +82-2-8639282
Received: April 28, 2015
Peer-review started: May 6, 2015
First decision: June 25, 2015
Revised: July 15, 2015
Accepted: August 10, 2015
Article in press: August 11, 2015
Published online: August 18, 2015

Early diagnosis of liver cirrhosis is important. Ultrasound-guided liver biopsy is the gold standard for diagnosis of liver cirrhosis. However, its invasiveness and sampling bias limit the applicability of the method. Basic imaging for the diagnosis of liver cirrhosis has developed over the last few decades, enabling early detection of morphological changes of the liver by ultrasonography (US), computed tomography, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). They are also accurate diagnostic methods for advanced liver cirrhosis, for which early diagnosis is difficult. There are a number of ways to compensate for this difficulty, including texture analysis to more closely identify the homogeneity of hepatic parenchyma, elastography to measure the stiffness and elasticity of the liver, and perfusion studies to determine the blood flow volume, transit time, and velocity. Amongst these methods, elastography using US and MRI was found to be slightly easier, faster, and able to provide an accurate diagnosis. Early diagnosis of liver cirrhosis using MRI or US elastography is therefore a realistic alternative, but further research is still needed.

Keywords: Liver fibrosis, Ultrasonography, Computed tomography, Magnetic resonance imaging, Magnetic resonance elastography, Sonoelastography, Acoustic radiation force impulse imaging

Core tip: The development of new imaging modalities for liver cirrhosis has enabled early and accurate diagnosis of liver cirrhosis. Currently, elastography, used to measure the stiffness and elasticity of the liver, is more widely applied than texture. Ultrasound is simple imaging tool in diagnosing cirrhosis and can be added as several additional complementary technologies. The non-inferior diagnostic capability, non-invasiveness and relative cost-effectiveness of ultrasonography elastography may enable it to be one of the most useful techniques for diagnosis of liver cirrhosis.