MR Elastography Useful In Detecting Liver Disease Affecting Obese Children

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As concluded by a study that was published online in the Journal of Pediatrics, MR elastography, or MRE, can be helpful for doctors trying to detect accurately fibrosis is children who are obese and have long-term liver disease.

MRE could turn out to be very beneficial for instances of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, or NAFLD, which is rampant among teens and children and is known to affect about 13% of youth. Liver failure and progressive liver disease are two common outcomes of NAFLD, and most of the young patients suffering from it are severely obese.

Why Noninvasiveness Is Needed?

According to the authors, the shortage of authenticated noninvasive biomarkers of histologic severity, necessitating costly and invasive liver biopsies, is the main reason why chronic liver diseases are not managed properly in children. Correct methods for detection of noticeable liver fibrosis are needed to improvise the conduct of randomized clinical studies on children, lessen the reliance on liver biopsies and also lead to better ability of tracking clinical outcomes.

Earlier researches have shown that MRE is effective in the detection of noteworthy hepatic fibrosis in patients who have reached adulthood. However, its success in case of children is not known as of now, according to the group.

MRE was formerly used for determining fibrosis together with two other methods that were ultrasound based: acoustic radiation force imaging, or ARFI elastography and transient elastography. But although the two other methods proved to be effective for children who had liver disease, they failed or were less successful for patients who were obese.

The present study had 35 people as participants, who belonged to the age group of 4 to 20 years. They had evaluations with liver biopsy and MRE, a procedure that was component of their clinical assessment for long-term liver disease. These included 17 females and 18 males, who were made to undergo tests at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. The median of the body mass indices of the group was found to be 33.9 kg/m2.

A patient who was 16 years of age and had a history of NAFLD was made to undergo liver MRE. The result showed liver stiffness steady with rigorous fibrosis. Results of the test were validates histopathologically after biopsy. Image has been provided by Dr. Stavra Xanthakos.

Xanthakos, along with his colleagues, noted that the data show that MRE has great potential for noninvasively detecting the severity of fibrosis in children who have liver disease. This could lessen the reliance on liver biopsies that tend to be misclassified owing to insufficient liver biopsy size, fragmentation or sampling error.

The authors also mentioned that inappropriate size of samples was a restraint during the direct study. They added that there should be larger potential studies performed on kids who have chronic liver disease so that MRE’s effectiveness can be validated.

If larger studies are able to validate the findings, the reliance on invasive and costly liver biopsies for detecting fibrosis could be reduced.

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