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Real-time ultrasound-derived fat fraction in pediatric population: feasibility validation with MR-PDFF

Title: Real-time ultrasound-derived fat fraction in pediatric population: feasibility validation with MR-PDFF

Source: Pediatric Radiology 2023, Sep 15. [Epublication]   

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Date of publication: September 2023

Publication type: Cross-sectional prospective study

Abstract: Background: Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common cause of chronic liver disease in children. To avoid limitations of liver biopsy and MRI, quantitative ultrasound has become a research focus. Ultrasound-derived fat fraction (UDFF) is based on a combination of backscatter coefficient and attenuation parameter.

Objective: The objectives of the study were to determine (1) agreement between UDFF/MRI proton density fat fraction (MR-PDFF) and (2) whether BMI and age are predictive for UDFF.

Materials and methods: This cross-sectional prospective study included a convenience sample of 46 children referred for clinically indicated abdominal MRI. MR-PDFF and five acquisitions of UDFF were collected. Intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) and Bland-Altman analysis were used to assess agreement between MR-PDFF and UDFF. Receiver operating characteristic curves were calculated for UDFF prediction of liver steatosis (MR-PDFF ≥ 6%). Multivariable regression was performed to assess BMI and age as predictors for UDFF.

Results: Twenty-two participants were male, 24 were female, and the mean age was 14 ± 3 (range: 7-18) years. Thirty-six out of 46 participants had normal liver fat fraction <6%, and 10/46 had liver steatosis. UDFF was positively associated with MR-PDFF (ICC 0.92 (95% CI, 0.89-0.96). The mean bias between UDFF and MR-PDFF was 0.64% (95% LOA, -5.3-6.6%). AUROC of UDFF for steatosis was of 0.95 (95% CI, 0.89-0.99). UDFF cutoff of 6% had a sensitivity of 90% (95% CI, 55-99%) and a specificity of 94% (95% CI, 81-0.99%). BMI was an independent predictor of UDFF (correlation: 0.55 (95% CI, 0.35-0.95)).

Conclusions: UDFF shows strong agreement with MR-PDFF in children. A UDFF cutoff of 6% provides good sensitivity and specificity for detection of MR-PDFF of ≥ 6%.

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